It’s not surprising that California has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the country, due to the liberal population living there as well as the lawmakers. That’s what makes it extremely shocking when you hear news like this: a U.S. District Court judge declared that a law that included a ban on high-capacity magazines was unconstitutional.
This change in ruling was lauded by National Rifle Association (NRA) advocates, and the judge’s decision sounded much more like a gun lobbyist’s propaganda than the measured tones of a traditional California judge. District Judge Roger Benitez struck down the law in early April, noting that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to provide self defense with these larger magazines within the home.
Illustrating the Problem
One of the key parts of Benitez’s opinion included several quite lurid retellings of situations where the high-capacity magazine ban may have cost homeowners their lives. Stories included one where an individual fired multiple warning shots, but was then out of bullets to defend herself — while the encounter with home invaders ended in tragedy for herself and her husband. Over 40 rounds of ammunition were counted at the scene, meaning a larger capacity magazine could have saved the victims from their attackers.
Benitez also noted that California’s excessive level of crime and aggravated assault, which included over 56,609 robberies, 105,391 aggravated assaults and 95,942 residential burglaries, should be reason enough to allow individuals access to larger capacity magazines for their home defense weapons.
No Real Changes Coming?
California citizens attempted to celebrate the ruling by making purchases of standard magazine sizes — only to find that the retailers were still unwilling to make the sale. Dealers noted that they were still awaiting responses from the Department of Justice before making the decision to sell higher-capacity magazines in their establishments. Residents in California who have had difficulty making these purchases online in the past should now be able to buy regular magazines from their retailer of choice.
While California gun policy advocates are looking for loopholes, it remains to be seen whether real changes are coming in the California. This might just be the best outcome we could have hoped for.
For now, Benitez adds his note that the 10-round magazine number is quite “arbitrary”, as even a Ruger youth rifle comes equipped with either 15 or 25 rounds. Some of the most popular weapons on the market such as the Glock 17 pistol include a 17-round magazine, making both of these widely used weapons a part of the previous high-capacity magazine ban. He goes on to state that the majority of individuals are using these higher capacity magazines for self-defense and defense of their property — while only a few limited cases can be found where larger magazine capacities were used to commit violent crimes or mass murders.
What’s certain is this: the country will be watching carefully to see if Californians are able to make their high-capacity magazine purchases, or if this will be another right ripped away by the courts.
~ Firearm Daily