By Miriam Raftery
November 30, 2021 (San Diego) – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld California’s ban on large-capacity gun ammunition magazines, overturning a lower court ruling. Gun rights advocates had taken aim at a 2016 law and a similar ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly by the state’s voters in an effort to reduce mass casualties from assault-style weapons.
The appellate court’s majority opinion states that “the ban on legal possession of large-capacity magazines reasonably supported California’s effort to reduce the devastating damage wrought by mass shootings,” and found the laws to be constitutional.
Three judges, all appointed by former President Donald Trump dissented from the ruling, stating, “these magazines are lawfully owned by millions of people nationwide.” The trio, judges Lawrence Van Dyke, Patrick Bumatay and Ryan Nelson, further suggested that if applied nationwide, such a law would “require confiscating half of all existing firearms magazine in this country.”
The law and ballot measure upheld by the court were backed by Gavin Newsom, then Lieutenant Governor. Following today’s ruling, Newsom tweeted, “Weapons of war don’t belong on our streets. This is a huge victory for the health and safety of all Californians.”
Locally, Michael Schwartz, executive director of the San Diego County Gun Owners organization in Santee, issued a statement sharply criticizing the action. “This decision essentially turns hundreds of thousands of people in California into felons for owning normal gun parts,” he said, adding, “A magazine is an essential part of a firearm and firearms are protected by the Second Amendment. The ability to defend yourself should not be limited by an arbitrary restriction put in place for political reasons.”
Plaintiffs have announced their intention to file an appeal, Associated Press reports. Ultimately, the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court could render a final decision on the controversial case.