A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, claiming that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s protection of the right to bear firearms, according to NewsMax.
“Even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster,” appellate Judge Kenneth Lee wrote for the panel’s majority.
California’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets “strikes at the core of the Second Amendment — the right to armed self-defense.”
He noted that California passed the law “in the wake of heart-wrenching and highly publicized mass shootings,” but said that isn’t enough to justify a ban whose scope “is so sweeping that half of all magazines in America are now unlawful to own in California.”
“The Supreme Court seems inclined to do away with the complicated subjective tests that many courts have wrongly applied in Second Amendment cases, in favor of a clearer more objective ‘originalist’ approach that considers the text, history and tradition of a law to determine what infringements might be tolerated,” Michel said in an email.
“This ruling is an extreme outlier” given those earlier decisions, said Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law, the litigation team affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety that favors firearms restrictions. “We expect the full court will rehear the case and correct this erroneous, dangerous, and out-of-step decision.”
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Aside from the magazine ban itself, Michel and the unaffiliated Second Amendment Foundation said the case has legal implications for other gun restrictions should it reach the justices because it could allow the court to clarify an obscure legal debate over what standard of review should be used.
Friday’s ruling was a fractured decision partly because of that issue: Two of the three judges voted to toss out the state’s ban, while the third judge dissented.
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Lynn of Texas, who had been named the third judge on the appellate panel, said the majority’s ruling conflicts with decisions in six other federal appellate courts across the nation, and with a 2015 ruling by a different panel of the 9th Circuit itself. She said she would have upheld California’s law based on that precedent.