Shot Down: CA's Ban On 'Large-Capacity' Magazines Blocked By Court

P. Gardner Goldsmith | August 17, 2020
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Once more, the image of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as a leftist stronghold is shattered.

On Friday, August 14, a three-judge panel of the federal court ruled AGAINST the state of California’s retroactively-applied so-called “Large-Capacity Magazine” (LCM) ban of ammunition mags that can hold more than ten rounds.

Reason’s Brian Doherty expertly explains:

The decision in the case of Duncan v. Becerra upheld a district court decision for summary judgment against the state of California from March 2019. The law barring LCMs as currently amended was a result of Proposition 63 in 2016.

Enforcement of the amendment to CA statutes, entitled “Section 32310,” was stopped by a suit brought by CA residents Virgina Duncan, Richard Lewis, Patrick Lovette, David Marguglio, Christopher Waddell, and the CA Rifle and Pistol Association, and the 2-1 majority of the Ninth Circuit Panel just upheld a previous ruling that on that suit – a ruling that prevented the amended statute from being enforced.

In short, Friday’s Ninth Circuit action means that, unless Xavier Becerra, the Attorney General of CA, takes a new appeal to the United States Supreme Court, anyone prosecuted by Governor Newsom under this amended statute will be allowed to go free. It essentially prevents the Executive Branch of CA from enforcing the statute, because anyone prosecuted under it will go through a court system that has already found the LCM ban to be unconstitutional.

Doherty also notes that the three-judge panel majority not only looked at the CA government’s infringement of the Second Amendment, but its infringement of the Fifth Amendment – which already had been cited by the lower court.

The District Court had decided there was ‘no genuine dispute of material fact that section 32310 violates the Second and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and ordered summary judgment for the [LCM] Owners’ who were suing the state. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today agrees with that conclusion.

The infringement of the Second Amendment is clear.

Judge Kenneth K. Lee wrote today's 9th Circuit panel decision, in which he was joined by Judge Consuelo Callahan. The judges concluded that barring citizens from owning and using more than half of the magazines for sale in the United States, ones that come along with a wide variety of commonly purchased handguns, strikes to the core of the Second Amendment right to own arms for self-defense, since the LCM ban barred possession of a self-defense tool commonly used for lawful purposes.

But some leftists might overlook how the CA government was ready to infringe on the Fifth Amendment.

This is understood by clearly recognizing the fact that the Fifth Amendment, in part, prohibits any government from depriving people of life, liberty, or property unless those people have been afforded “due process of law,” and prohibits the taking of property without just compensation.

So, since this statutory amendment is supposed to claim for the CA government the power to criminalize possession of so-called LCMs, it could have been used to deprive people of their property without due process and without just compensation.

And, of course, prohibition of future sales is blocked by the Second Amendment.

That was ruled by two judges of the three on the panel.

How hard is it for the third judge to grasp these basic concepts?

How about CA Governor Gavin Newsom, or CA Attorney General Becerra?

And how about other nuances woven into the history gun prohibition?

First, there’s the fact that prohibition not only doesn’t prevent criminally-minded people from obtaining the prohibited firearms and magazines – thus putting the law-abiding and cops in greater danger – but there is also the fact that prohibition has been used as a lever of racial injustice. Doherty observes that Judge Lee wrote:

Perhaps the most poignant and persuasive reminder of the fundamental right to self-defense…the denial of that right to Black Americans during tragic chapters of our country's history….Post-Civil War state legislation and the Black Codes in the South deprived newly freed slaves of their Second Amendment rights…Meanwhile, armed bands of ex-Confederates roamed the countryside forcibly disarming and terrorizing African Americans….Our country's history has shown that communities of color have a particularly compelling interest in exercising their Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment provides one last line of defense for people of color when the state cannot — or will not — step in to protect them.

In fact, the state is a predator, the largest, most powerful, longest-standing predator in human history.

The majority on the Ninth Circuit panel ruled correctly, but the very fact that they HAD to rule on this offensive CA amendment ought to be a wakeup call to anyone who lives in the fever-dream that government is his or her friend.

Too many millions have perished because of that fraudulent assumption, and the only thing that can stop the state are awareness of fundamental human rights, weapons…

And people willing to use them for self-defense.