It appears that, unlike the brief period during which Californians could buy standard capacity 30-round magazines last year — a period appropriately known as freedom week — Californians may be about to enjoy a longer period of background check-free ammunition purchases. Maybe much longer.
Judge Roger Benitez has denied the state of California’s motion for a stay of the injunction he issued yesterday in Rhode v. Becerra. That injunction prevents the state from enforcing its law requiring that purchasers of ammunition undergo a background check.
In his brief, three-page decision, the judge wrote . . .
The Attorney General has conceded that the right to purchase and acquire ammunition is a right protected by the Second Amendment. That is an understanding consistent with Ninth Circuit decisions. Furthermore, as discussed in its preliminary injunction order, this Court found Plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on the merits.
Here the Attorney General focuses on the possibility that a prohibited person may acquire ammunition. Buying ammunition is something that prohibited persons have managed to accomplish for 170 years and these new laws show little likelihood of success of preventing prohibited persons from unlawfully possessing future acquisitions. This Court’s focus is on the 101,047 + law-abiding, responsible citizens who have been completely blocked by the operation of these laws. Without an injunction, these law-abiding individuals have no legal way to acquire the ammunition which they enjoy the constitutional right of possession. These law-abiding individuals whose numbers are vast have no way to lawfully acquire ammunition to defend themselves, their families and their homes. The injunction restores that right.
[T]he Court found the background check and anti-importation laws to severely burden Plaintiffs and all law-abiding citizen-residents of California who want to acquire ammunition. The Attorney General does not point to any change in circumstances or new evidence to undermine that conclusion. That the laws have been in effect for 10 months reflects this Court’s patient consideration, not its constitutional approval. Any delay was occasioned by judicial optimism that the high erroneous denial rate of early Standard background checks might significantly improve. It did not. Instead, the constitutional impingements on Second Amendment rights that began immediately, will continue if a stay is granted. Thus, the Court cannot find the remaining two factors tip the scales in favor of a stay. A 16.4% error rate that deprives citizens the enjoyment of any constitutional right is offensive and unacceptable.
You can read the full decision here.
Again, this isn’t over by any means. The next step is a likely motion by the state to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But for now, Californians should enjoy the unencumbered ability to purchase gun food while they can.