SAF: Ninth Circuit Striking Down California’s Large Capacity Ban is a Victory for All Gun Owners

Standard capacity ar-15 magazines


From the Second Amendment Foundation

The Second Amendment Foundation today is hailing a ruling by a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that held California’s ban on so-called “large-capacity magazines” (LCMs) violates the Second Amendment.

“While this was not our case,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “this is a victory for all gun owners, and the majority opinion reflects our arguments in an amicus brief we submitted along with several other organizations. Most importantly, the panel majority used strict scrutiny to make its determination, and that is a huge milestone.”

The case is known as Duncan v. Becerra. The 66-page majority opinion was written by Circuit Judge Kenneth K. Lee.

SAF was joined in its amicus brief by the California Gun Rights Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, Armed Equality, San Diego County Gun Owners, Orange County Gun Owners, Riverside County Gun Owners, and California County Gun Owners.

In his ruling, Judge Lee observed, “We understand the purpose in passing this law. But even the laudable goal of reducing gun violence must comply with the Constitution. California’s near-categorical ban of LCMs infringes on the fundamental right to self-defense. It criminalizes the possession of half of all magazines in America today. It makes unlawful magazines that are commonly used in handguns by law-abiding citizens for self-defense. And it substantially burdens the core right of self-defense guaranteed to the people under the Second Amendment. It cannot stand.”

California had banned possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than ten cartridges.

“This was a fantastic ruling,” Gottlieb observed. “The court went into considerable detail about the history of magazine development and essentially follows the logic of our amicus, for which we are all very proud.”


The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.


  1. avatar Tec's Dad says:

    It sure would be nice if all states that have implemented capacity restrictions were ruled Unconstitutional… those states would be Hawaii, Cali, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Mass, Vermont and Connecticut

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Amen !

    2. avatar FB says:

      If I’m not mistaken, that ruling would apply to all of the ninth circuit districts.

      Ninth Circuit Districts
      1. Alaska
      2. Arizona
      3. Central District of California
      4. Eastern District of California
      5. Northern District of California
      6. Southern District of California
      7. Guam
      8. Hawaii
      9. Idaho
      10. Montana
      11. Nevada
      12. Northern Mariana Islands
      13. Oregon
      14. Eastern District of Washington
      15. Western District of Washington

      1. avatar Tim says:

        So all you blue-state conservatives get out & VOTE! Turn it red!

      2. avatar LJTodd says:

        Correct!. (Judge Lee is a Trump appointment, btw. Elections have consequences.)

      3. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Yeah, but in the past, such rulings have been routinely ignored in all but the state specifically involved. I did not understand how, but I first saw this in an Appeals court ruling which outlawed Affirmative Action as discrimination by race in a case against U of Texas. Ruling was followed in Texas only, completely ignored in the other districts. Things which are obviously true are sometimes simply not true.

    3. avatar Widdler says:

      Just so we’re all on the same page, Hawaii…my home state, limits handgun mags to 10rds. 30rd rifle mags are allowed, so there’s no confusion. The left likes to swing crap in weird ways, I don’t trust them. But yes, 100% agree with Tec’s comment. All should be ruled unconstitutional

  2. avatar SteveO says:

    I believe that Roger Benetez should be recognized for his initial ruling and efforts last year. He’s got to be feeling vindicated today.

    1. avatar SteveO says:


      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        Saint Benitez,yes his original discussion was that well thought and written,it will stand the test of time and if there is to be restoration of the 2nd. amendment, that decision will play a part of it.

  3. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

    The benevolent crown decrees you may have standard capacity magazines now when you need a second mortgage to actually afford the ammo to fill one. Got it.

    1. avatar Tarzan says:

      If you haven’t been stocking up on cheap ammo since Trump was elected, you have only yourself to blame. Unless you are brand new to guns.

      1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

        I was referring to Californians. Folks that don’t regularly get to shoot pmags or glock fun sticks may not understand how fast you can blow through your supply.

        I have several thousand rounds in the calibers I own. Unfortunately, I also use several thousand rounds a year. It’s cramping my style, I’m doing chores on the weekend instead of heading out to my range.

        1. avatar Pistolero says:

          Easy peasy. Save your brass. Reload one weekend, range the next. Components are still relatively cheap and plentiful.

        2. avatar Widdler says:

          Powder & primers are getting pretty scarce too though.

        3. avatar SKP5885 says:


          Really??? Can you please enlighten me where I can buy relatively cheap small pistol primers? If you can, then I will call you Saint Pistolero, but if you can’t….I won’t be surprised. Certain (typically common) reloading supplies are in very short supply.

    2. avatar Ron says:

      This is no small victory. This is a pretty big deal. While this doesn’t mean the fight is over or control is forever gone, it is a huge setback to the left.

      They’ve likely lost the ability to pass magazine capacity bans. For California of all places for it to happen is a big deal.

  4. avatar Tarzan says:

    Amicus briefs are a joke. It allows letter writers to act like they were part of the case, if it goes in their favor. And use it as fundraising. Large magazine ban slapped down, and we signed a letter agreeing it’s bad. Now donate to us please. I’m sure Wayne LaPierre has his email blast coming out too.

    1. avatar Greg says:

      That is not what an amicus brief is.

      1. avatar Tarzan says:

        A friend of the court who is not who is not a party to the case. It’s just their opinion. A letter writing campaign basically.

        1. avatar Mercury says:

          The goal of a letter writing campaign is to flood someone with letters supporting or opposing something, in a general sense. The content of the letters isn’t terribly relevant. An amicus brief, however, contains any precedent or case law and any logical argument the author considers relevant to the case. The goal there is to ensure the judge(s) have that information and have at least read your argument, regardless of what the attorneys involved do. They can impact not just the proceedings of the case they are filed for, but also subsequent rulings in the same jurisdiction as judges can and do bring outside information into their rulings, rather than just deciding on the arguments of the attorneys alone.

          Now, nobody HAS to read an amicus, sure. So if you know you’re dealing with a hostile judge who wouldn’t rule your way even if you had an utterly irrefutable argument, it’s a letter writing campaign if you do it anyway. But other than that, they can absolutely change a ruling if they contain precedent or an argument that one side missed.

  5. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    I like how the judge (Lee) who wrote the opinion used the term “infringes”. I hope we see more of this pro-Constitution terminology.

    1. avatar 9x39 says:

      I very much like that “infringes” was used as well. This is a nasty precedent, and I am standing beside myself in utter disbelief that it came out of the 9th of all places.

    2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Especially since the Constitution is there first and only duty.

      1. avatar Widdler says:

        Now if they would start using terms like “Oath, punishment, prison, liquidation of assets” we’d really start getting somewhere. All in all, I’m calling it a good day👍

        1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

          Some of those punishments prescribe massive quantities of hemp.

        2. avatar Widdler says:

          Which hawaii has no problem providing….Year round!…but at least their (poor/broke/high) asses will be in prison and their names off the voting ballot.

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      So if 2AF doesn’t own this case, who does? I saw no mention, but this does not appear t be a case an individual could have financed, meaning I need to send somebody $100, but I have no idea who. NRA-ILA? GOA?

  6. avatar B says:

    A slight error in the article; California didn’t ban possession. Mere possession is not illegal. It was the illegal sale, manufacture, importation, or transfer of LCMs that was implemented.

    Huge milestone for sure. The fact that decreased capacity hinders the ability for one to survive against multiple assailants or ineffective hit values also proves that other laws limiting normal function of firearms are unconstitutional, like all the AW restrictions.

    Full court press!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Try again. The lawsuit was brought when the state passed a retroactive ban, so those old grandfathered mags were illegal too. Which is one of the reasons Benitez forbade the prosecution of any possession offenses while the case was on appeal.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Mark is correct. The retroactive ban was the impetus that led to this lawsuit in the first place.

        1. avatar B says:

          My bad. Amended November 8, 2016, by initiative Proposition 63, Sec. 6.1.

  7. avatar Docduracoat says:

    I note the NRA is not mentioned as one of the parties to the lawsuit

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      They are busy saving themselves .

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      CRPA is the NRA affiliate in California. So yeah, the NRA was involved.

      1. avatar gene says:

        Besides by mere affiliation, what did they actually do?

    3. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      They never are,however when a decision is rendered in favor of the 2nd. amendment, they swoop in to take credit for it,mark my words in the next week they will issue a statement taking credit.
      Mean while Negotiating Rights Away is busy behind the scenes capitulating your rights away in some civilian disarmament infringement coming down the pike, that and or trying to defend Wayne La Pew Pew.

      1. avatar Pistolero says:

        They already took full credit for it. All their social media platforms are screaming about a N.R.A. VICTORY! They’re already spinning it like “Look what WE did for you!” The “fight must continue/ is far from over” emails begging for money are on the way imminently for sure! smh.

    4. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      As much as I despise Negotiating Rights Away, I must correct this. The PARTIES to the suit are not mentioned in the article. The organizations listed are those who JOINED IN THE AMICUS BRIEF.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Amicus briefs are one thing, but who has been PAYING for this action? Commonly in the past, 2AF and NRA-ILA fund the bulk, but apparently neither is financially involved here, and my guess is this cost a bunch. Who paid?

  8. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Lightening has struck twice!! Perhaps there is a chance for California???

    1. avatar bastiches says:

      NARRATOR: Sadly, no.

  9. avatar Ron says:

    This is exactly why we cannot allow the left to win elections simply because we may not like who the alternative is.

    This is a huge victory, an absolutely huge victory. We must continue to pack the courts with 2A friendly judges, and you don’t ever get that with a Democrat president or congress.

  10. avatar GS650G says:

    Ask the never trumpers I’d She would of appointed judges which voted this way.

    Yeah I thought so.

    1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

      That’s the main reason I’ll be voting for Kamala Harris for glorious leader (Marxist coup pending). MSNBC and CNN tell me she’s a “pragmatic moderate.”

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        Fact about her, she was Willie Browns willing willie warmer, now what’s the other name for that….

        1. avatar Widdler says:

          A stripper in Reno called “fanny” comes to mind, came out to Joe walshes “Rocky Mountain way”…..good times!

  11. avatar Tempestmark2 says:

    This was just a 3 judge panel. Kommiefornia WILL appeal to en bloc, which is still populated by Marxist appointees.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      En banc. Ten judges are randomly selected to serve on the panel, plus the Chief Judge Thomas, a dyed-in-the -wool gun hater. Since Trump has taken office, a number of Republicans–including the guy who wrote the opinion–have been appointed. The Democrats still have a majority, but it is narrow.

      If you want to know how the en banc will come down, read the dissent to today’s opinion.

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        It would appear that Orange Man Bad’s judicial appointments have made a noticeable difference on the Ninth Circus,now if he can just stop himself from further violations of the Constitution.

    2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Maybe,maybe Not.

  12. avatar Mark N. says:

    Don’ t get your hopes up too high. This isn’t the first time that a panel has rendered a slam dunk win for us gunnies, only to be reversed by an en banc panel lead by Chief Judge Thomas.

    Come back in a year, and then let’s see what happens. Meanwhile, since it takes only one judge to vote to take a case en banc, and there is such a judge in the Ninth, wait to see how long it takes the AG Beccera to file a motion for an emergency stay pending en banc proceedings. I wouldn’t be surprised it he got it on file this afternoon.

  13. avatar enuf says:

    It’s a small victory. Likely won’t last. But it’s a long term process, just have to stick with it.

    1. avatar Debbie W. says:

      enuf…A democRat Party lint licker like you must be disappointed. I mean if hilliary rotten clintoon was POTUS chances are high there would not be any ruling to talk about.
      You need to come clean with people who probably mistake you as someone who is not a democRat lint licker. Best way to do that is bottom line Biden/Harris 2020 to each of your posts.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Debbie, I’m starting to think you secretly have a crush on enuf. You hopeless romantic, you.

  14. avatar Keyword Spam says:

    And then they will appeal and request a stay, and then nothing will happen for 10 years while it finds its way to the Supreme Court, who by then will have mostly left-wing judges who will uphold the ban.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Boy, I get confused. Why can’t our side do the same things? Like postponing that en banc hearing for 10 years while Californians keep buying standard mags?

  15. avatar mark h says:

    This is not just “Orange Man Bad” and his judicial picks. Equal credit goes to Mitch who ended the practice of “Blue Slips”.

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