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‘Blank Check For Governments To Restrict Firearms’: 9th Circuit Allows Magazine Ban to Continue

A federal appeals court allowed a California gun law banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds to take effect Tuesday.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a Sept. 22 ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who found the state’s law, which he called “extreme,” to be unconstitutional. The appeals court ruled 7-4 Tuesday that California is likely to prevail against the challenger’s Second Amendment claims.

Without a stay, the majority noted California “will be irreparably harmed,” pointing to evidence Attorney General Rob Bonat presented showing ” large-capacity magazines pose significant threats to public safety.”

“If a stay is denied, California indisputably will face an influx of large-capacity magazines like those used in mass shootings in California and elsewhere,” the court wrote.

Dissenting Judge Patrick J. Bumatay, joined by judges Sandra Segal Ikuta, Ryan Nelson and Lawrence VanDyke, wrote that the majority failed to engage with the Second Amendment even after “the Supreme Court directly ordered us to apply Bruen to this very case.”

“If the protection of the people’s fundamental rights wasn’t such a serious matter, our court’s attitude toward the Second Amendment would be laughably absurd,” they wrote. “For years, this court has shot down every Second Amendment challenge to a state regulation of firearms—effectively granting a blank check for governments to restrict firearms in any way they pleased.”

The district court blocked the law in a 2019 decision, which the Ninth Circuit reversed on appeal. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the district court in 2022 to be heard in light of its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen.

Bonta said in a statement that he is “relieved that the court considered the public safety of Californians in its decision to grant our motion and maintain the restrictions on large-capacity magazines pending a decision on appeal.”

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