The federal judge in California, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, has declared the state’s ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition as unconstitutional. He stated that the ban violated the Second Amendment rights of firearms owners, arguing that it went too far by preventing people from using such magazines for lawful purposes, including self-defense.
In his decision, Judge Benitez referenced a June 2022 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which emphasized that firearms restrictions should be consistent with the historical tradition of firearm regulation in the United States.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta plans to appeal the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and intends to seek a stay on the ruling while the appeal is pending. Bonta has expressed concern about weapons enhancements designed for mass casualties and believes that the district court’s decision is dangerously mistaken.
Judge Benitez has delayed enforcing his injunction against the magazine ban for 10 days to allow Bonta time to seek a stay. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time the judge has struck down the magazine ban; he did so in March 2019, but the 9th Circuit overturned his decision in November 2021. The Supreme Court later vacated the appeals court ruling and ordered new proceedings consistent with the Bruen decision.
Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, praised the judge’s decision, characterizing it as reflecting a significant change in how courts view restrictive firearms laws. On the other hand, California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has criticized Judge Benitez for previous decisions favoring firearms owners, had previously celebrated the appeals court’s ruling as a victory for public safety.
The case in question is Duncan et al v. Bonta, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, No. 17-01017. This ruling adds to the ongoing legal and political debate surrounding gun rights and gun control measures in the United States.
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