In late June, a US District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking a ban on possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition in California. The ban was passed as part of Proposition 63 which also instituted background checks for ammunition purchases. The “high capacity” magazine ban would have outlawed untold millions of mags already legally owned by California gun owners.
As Judge Robert Benitez wrote at the time, implementing the law would have resulted in “hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property.”
Today, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld that injunction in a 2 to 1 decision. Here’s the California Rifle and Pistol Association’s announcement of the ruling.
In another blow to Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s anti-gun agenda, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling in the case of Duncan v. Becerra on Tuesday, upholding a lower court’s decision to suspend enforcement of Proposition 63’s restriction on the possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
Following the enactment of Proposition 63, CRPA attorneys sought an injunction against the magazine possession ban, arguing that the law violated the Second Amendment, as well as the due process and takings clauses of the United States Constitution. Federal District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez agreed, issuing a preliminary injunction just days before the law was set to take effect. California quickly appealed the decision.
On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that Judge Benitez did not abuse his discretion, holding that he applied the correct legal standards and made reasonable inferences based on the record. But one judge on the panel disagreed. Responding to the dissent, the majority noted that it was not within the panel’s authority to re-weigh the evidence of the case, nor could it substitute its discretion for that of the district court. What’s more, referencing the Ninth Circuit’s 2014 ruling in Fyock v. Sunnyvale, which affirmed the denial of an injunction against a local magazine ban, the majority held that simply because a judge disagrees with another district court does not necessarily mean the district court abused its discretion on the matter.
Meanwhile, in the trial court, a motion for summary judgment is pending and a ruling on the merits of the case is expected soon. Regardless of the outcome, the case will most certainly be appealed again to the Ninth Circuit. But by that time, the Supreme Court will likely have a new Justice who respects the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment.
To stay informed on the Duncan case, as well as other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, be sure to subscribe to NRA and CRPA email alerts. And be sure to visit the NRA-ILA California dedicated webpage at www.StandAndFightCalifornia.com and the new CRPA webpage at www.CRPA.org.