The Union Democrat
US appeals court upholds California’s ban on large-capacity firearms magazines
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court decided Tuesday to uphold California’s ban on large-scale ammunition magazines in a ruling that is likely to lead to the court’s approval of the state’s ban on assault weapons.
In an en banc decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-3 that a state law that limits the size of magazines that may be used with firearms does not significantly interfere with the right to self defense. The court noted that there was no evidence that a person has been unable to defend a home because of a lack of large-capacity magazines.
During the past 50 years, the court said, large-capacity magazines have been used in about three-quarters of mass shootings that resulted in 10 or more deaths, and in 100% of massacres with 20 or more deaths.
“The ban on legal possession of large-capacity magazines reasonably supports California’s effort to reduce the devastating damage wrought by mass shootings,” Judge Susan P. Graber, a Clinton appointee, wrote for the court.
Two other gun control cases have been put on hold pending a decision in the magazine case. Tuesday’s decision indicates that California’s ban on assault weapons, which a lower court had struck down, is also likely to be ruled constitutional.
U.S. District Judge Judge Roger T. Benitez overturned both the magazine ban and the bar on assault weapons. In the assault weapons case, Benitez likened an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to a Swiss Army knife and called it “good for both home and battle.”
Benitez, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said the assault weapons ban unconstitutionally infringed on the rights of California gun owners and “has had no effect” on curtailing mass shootings.
California’s ban on large-capacity magazines affects those that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.