The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – widely considered to be the most liberal federal circuit – recently ruled against the enforcement of California’s confiscatory ban on “large-capacity” magazines. And this just might be one of the first cases that Judge Brett Kavanaugh would preside over assuming he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court. For gun rights supporters, this makes his confirmation that much more important.
National Review reports:
“Under California law, any person who possesses a legally purchased magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition must either remove the magazine from the state, sell it to a licensed firearm dealer, or hand it over to law enforcement. Those citizens who retained their magazines after the law went into effect risked a fine or up to one year’s imprisonment in county jail.
“The district court’s 66-page opinion was a legal tour-de-force that not only dismantled California’s justifications for the ban, but also reiterated and reinforced the constitutional and historical basis for the right to keep and bear arms. This paragraph from the district-court opinion is nearly-perfect:
“‘Violent gun use is a constitutionally-protected means for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from criminals. The phrase “gun violence” may not be invoked as a talismanic incantation to justify any exercise of state power. Implicit in the concept of public safety is the right of law-abiding people to use firearms and the magazines that make them work to protect themselves, their families, their homes, and their state against all armed enemies, foreign and domestic. To borrow a phrase, it would indeed be ironic if, in the name of public safety and reducing gun violence, statutes were permitted to subvert the public’s Second Amendment rights — which may repel criminal gun violence and which ultimately ensure the safety of the Republic.'”
Has the Ninth Circuit finally discovered the original meaning of the Second Amendment? Probably not, the court’s decision has a limited holding, and this ruling only temporarily blocks the confiscation by law enforcement.
National Review continued:
“While gun owners in California can breathe a temporary sigh of relief, the fight is far from over. Either way — sooner or later — this case will reach the Supreme Court, and it may very well be Brett Kavanaugh’s first chance to look at a serious gun-rights cert petition, assuming he is confirmed to the Court.
“If the Court takes the case (and that’s far from certain; SCOTUS has been reluctant to review recent Second Amendment decisions), it will have an opportunity to reset the gun-control debate. If it rules that weapons in common use for lawful purposes enjoy categorical constitutional protection, then most assault-weapons bans and large-capacity-magazine bans would fall. Prohibitions against the sale of “dangerous and unusual” weapons (machine guns, for example) would remain.”
This is all speculation for now, but one thing is for sure; hundreds of thousands of California gun owners remain law-abiding.
Gun-owners choose large-capacity magazines for the same reasons why police carry large-capacity magazines in their service weapons. In a deadly encounter, the amount of ammunition in your magazine can be the deciding factor between life and death.