Court up­holds New Jersey’s law for mag­a­zine size

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY ALEX SWOYER David Sherfin­ski con­trib­uted to this re­port.

A fed­eral ap­peals court Wed­nes­day up­held New Jersey’s law re­strict­ing the size of firearm mag­a­zines to 10 rounds, say­ing it doesn’t run afoul of the Sec­ond Amend­ment and will help save lives by giv­ing vic­tims more time to flee while a shooter reloads.

The state law, passed ear­lier this year, per­mits no more than 10 rounds to be held within a firearm. It ex­empts ac­tive-duty mem­bers of the mil­i­tary and the po­lice, as well as re­tired law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, per­mit­ting them to carry semi-au­to­matic hand­guns that hold 15 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion.

“New Jersey’s law rea­son­ably fits the state’s in­ter­est in pub­lic safety and does not un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally bur­den the Sec­ond Amend­ment’s right to self-de­fense in the home,” wrote 3rd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals Judge Patty Shwartz, an Obama-ap­pointee.

A group of gun rights ad­vo­cates chal­lenged the law and had sought an in­junc­tion, say­ing it banned a whole cat­e­gory of firearms.

But the court, in a 2-1 rul­ing, said that wasn’t true. Judge Shwartz said a limit on mag­a­zines, doesn’t take any guns out of Amer­i­cans’ hands, and said it also doesn’t limit the num­ber of rounds avail­able. Some­one could still pur­chase three 10round mag­a­zines, giv­ing them the equiv­a­lent of two now-banned 15-round mag­a­zines.

The court said New Jersey had a valid pub­lic safety in­ter­est in that change.

“The record demon­strates that when there are pauses in shoot­ing to reload or for other rea­sons, op­por­tu­ni­ties arise for vic­tims to flee, as ev­i­denced by the 2017 Las Ve­gas and 2013 D.C. Navy Yard shoot­ings … or for by­standers to in­ter­vene, as in the 2018 Ten­nessee Waf­fle House shoot­ing and 2011 Ari­zona shoot­ing in­volv­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gabrielle Gif­fords,” the court ruled.

Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump ap­pointee, dis­sented, say­ing the state didn’t meet its bur­den of proof to show the law was nec­es­sary.

“We must treat the right to keep and bear arms like other enu­mer­ated rights,” the judge dis­sented. “We may not wa­ter it down and bal­ance it away based on our own sense of wise pol­icy.”

Five other cir­cuits have up­held laws lim­it­ing the sizes of mag­a­zines. Eight other states and the District of Columbia have en­acted sim­i­lar mea­sures.

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