In a landmark decision, federal district judge Roger Benitez has declared California’s ban on “high capacity” magazines unconstitutional. The law, which was passed as part of Proposition 63 in 2016, prohibits the possession of any magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition.
In his 71-page ruling, Judge Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, criticized the law as a violation of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He described the ban as a government solution that turns law-abiding citizens into criminals while doing little to address the issue of mass shootings.
According to the judge, the history and tradition of the Second Amendment supports laws against the unlawful use of firearms, but not the disarmament of law-abiding citizens. He argued that the founding fathers valued individual freedom over the safety and security promised by an all-powerful government.
This is not the first time the Prop 63 magazine ban has faced legal challenges. In 2020, Judge Benitez struck down the same law, only to have it reinstated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Currently, 14 states and the District of Columbia have similar bans in place on magazines holding more than ten rounds. However, many critics argue that these laws do little to prevent mass shootings and instead target law-abiding citizens who use firearms for self-defense.
Judge Benitez’s ruling has sparked controversy and praise from both sides of the political spectrum. California Governor Gavin Newsom, who called the judge an “extremist, right-wing zealot” accused him of having no regard for human life. On the other hand, gun rights advocates have hailed the decision as a victory for the Second Amendment and individual freedom.
In his ruling, Judge Benitez also noted that the ban unfairly targets ordinary citizens who may need larger magazines for self-defense. This, he argues, is a violation of their Constitutional rights.
The judge’s decision is likely to face further legal challenges and could ultimately end up before the United States Supreme Court. However, for the time being, California residents are no longer bound by the ban on “high capacity” magazines. The ruling is a significant blow to the state’s gun control efforts, and it remains to be seen how state legislators will respond.
In the meantime, many gun owners are celebrating the ruling as a victory for their rights. The fight over gun control is far from over, but for now, Californians have gained a significant victory in the battle to protect their Second Amendment rights.