Federal Judge Blocks California Law Restricting High-Capacity Magazines

A California law banning the possession and sale of gun magazines holding more than 10 rounds was blocked by a federal judge. He said the law was unconstitutional in a decision released on Friday.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Roger Benitez wrote in a 71-page ruling that law-abiding citizens had constitutional rights to own magazines of greater than 10 rounds. He added that no historic legal precedent gave California the right to pass such a law.

Benitez wrote, “Removable firearm magazines of all sizes are necessary components of semiautomatic firearms. Therefore, magazines come within the text of the constitutional declaration that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

He continued, “Because millions of removable firearm magazines able to hold between 10 and 30 rounds are commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, including self-defense, and because they are reasonably related to service in the militia, the magazines are presumptively within the protection of the Second Amendment.”

Benitez said California did not justify “its sweeping ban and dispossession mandate,” passed via ballot initiative in 2016. “One government solution to a few mad men with guns is a law that makes criminals out of 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,” he wrote.

“The adoption of the Second Amendment was a freedom calculus decided long ago by our first citizens who cherished individual freedom with its risks more than the subservient security of a British ruler or the smothering safety of domestic lawmakers.”

“The freedom they fought for was worth fighting for then, and that freedom is entitled to be preserved still,” the judge added. California Governor Gavin Newsom complained about the ruling, referring to Benitez as a “right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.”

“Wake up, America. Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional Amendment to protect our kids and end the gun violence epidemic in America,” Newsom posted to X. Benitez’s order won’t take effect for 10 days as California A.G. Rob Bonta moves to get a stay on the ruling.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution holds a significant place in the nation’s history and identity for several critical reasons. First and foremost, it is a fundamental safeguard of individual liberty.

The Founding Fathers recognized the importance of personal freedom and the potential for tyranny. They saw the right to bear arms as a means for citizens to protect themselves, their families and their property. This fundamental freedom empowers individuals to take responsibility for their safety and security, a core principle in the nation’s founding philosophy.

The Second Amendment also serves as a crucial check on government power. It acts as a deterrent against potential government overreach. It reminds those in authority that the people possess the means to resist tyranny.

Those who outlined the Constitution, having experienced the tyranny of British rule, sought to ensure that future generations could defend their rights against oppressive regimes. This aspect of the Second Amendment highlights the importance of a government by and for the people— with the ultimate authority resting in the hands of American citizens.

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