Federal Judge Strikes Down California’s Ban for a Second Time
On September 22, 2023, United States District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez struck down the California state government’s prohibition on ammunition magazines carrying over ten rounds.
This is the second instance Benitez has issued a ruling against the prohibition.
Back in 2017, Benitez struck down the prohibition by preventing “otherwise law-abiding” citizens from being criminalized.
He called attention to how the prohibition strips gun rights “and amounts to the government taking people’s private property without compensation.”
On September 22, Benitez issued a decision against the prohibition again by abiding by the framework Bruen established in the summer of 2022, which requires gun control measures to comply with the tradition and history of the Second Amendment.
KQED quoted Benitez noting, “There is no American tradition of limiting ammunition capacity.”
He highlighted that, historically speaking, detachable magazines “solved a problem with historic firearms: running out of ammunition and having to slowly reload a gun.”
He continued, “There have been, and there will be, times where many more than 10 rounds are needed to stop attackers,” Benitez wrote. “Yet, under this statute, the State says ‘too bad.’”
In the concluding part of his decision, Benitez wrote the following:
One government solution to a few mad men with guns is a law that makes into criminals responsible, law-abiding people wanting larger magazines simply to protect themselves. The history and tradition of the Second Amendment clearly supports state laws against the use or misuse of firearms with unlawful intent, but not the disarmament of the law-abiding citizen. That kind of a solution is an infringement on the Constitutional right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
Benitez’s decision was subsequently appealed to the US Circuit Court for the Ninth Circuit.
The federal courts can be a blessing and curse depending on the context. In this case, the courts delivered the goods. However, gun owners must still rely on a multi-pronged approach to secure their rights. In this existential fight to preserve our liberties, putting all of our eggs in one basket is not an option.