Capitol Alert

Large-capacity gun magazines are illegal in California again

Large-capacity magazines are off the market for California gun owners again.

A federal judge who last week struck down a California law banning high-capacity firearm magazines has agreed to halt temporarily the implementation of his decision while the state prepares to challenge his ruling at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.

The stay in the ruling means California gun owners cannot buy magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. They can keep large-capacity magazines they own.

Judge Roger Benitez on March 29 published a fiery opinion finding that California’s ban on high-capacity magazines violated Californians’ Second Amendment right to own firearms.

He detailed scenarios in which a high-capacity magazine would be helpful to someone trying to protect herself from a criminal, and he criticized the state law as overreaching in its attempt to prevent mass shootings.

Gun manufacturers and ammunition retailers immediately seized on Benitez’s ruling to market products to Californians. Manufacturer Beretta, for instance, promoted a discount at its online store in connection to court ruling.

Becerra this week filed a motion asking for a stay on the ruling, contending that lifting the ban would allow large-capacity gun magazines to pour into California.

“It’s clear that there are those who are now trying to flood the state of California with what were until this decision, illegal high-capacity magazines, the type of magazines that are used in firearms to create the mass shootings that we’ve seen throughout this country,” Becerra said at a press conference.

Benitez’s court on Friday published his order granting Becerra’s request.

Benitez wrote, “the court understands that strong emotions are felt by people of good will on both sides of the constitutional and social policy questions. The court understands that thoughtful and law-abiding citizens can and do firmly hold competing opinions on firearm magazine restrictions. These concerns auger in favor of judicial deliberation. There is an immeasurable societal benefit of maintaining the immediate status quo while the process of judicial review takes place.”

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