California Gun Capacity Law Struck Down In Court

A California law that limited the size of firearms magazine capacity was struck down in federal court last week. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California stated that the law preventing magazines holding more than 10 rounds was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote that such magazines “of all sizes are necessary components of semiautomatic firearms. Therefore, magazines come within the text of the constitutional declaration that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The judge’s language is similar to that in the 2008 Heller decision, in which the Supreme Court struck down extensive restrictions on the ownership of firearms in Washington D.C.

The law that was struck down was approved by California voters in a 2016 referendum.

“Because millions of removable firearm magazines able to hold between 10 and 30 rounds are commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, including self-defense, and because they are reasonably related to service in the militia, the magazines are presumptively within the protection of the Second Amendment,” the judge wrote.

Benitez wrote that the law was a “sweeping ban and dispossession mandate.”

The judge wrote that the Second Amendment allows for state laws “against the use or misuse of firearms with unlawful intent,” but not such sweeping efforts.

He also wrote that the adoption of the Second Amendment was a “freedom calculus” by the nation’s founders “who cherished individual freedom with its risks more than the subservient security of a British ruler or the smothering safety of domestic lawmakers.”

The judge wrote that such freedom was worth fighting for more than 200 years ago, “and that freedom is entitled to be preserved still.”

This is the second time that Benitez has struck down a California magazine limitation. The state is appealing the ruling.

Benitez’s ruling was criticized by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who called the judge a “right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.”

He then called for a constitutional amendment that would limit the current ability for Americans to keep and bear arms.