The Democrats did not seeing this coming. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is arguably the nation’s most progressive federal circuit, so when they backed a lower court’s decision to suspend California’s ban on the possession of large magazines you can bet that was a shock to Liberals.
Under California law, any person who possesses a legally purchased magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition must either remove the magazine from the state, sell it to a licensed firearm dealer, or hand it over to law enforcement. Those citizens who retained their magazines after the law went into effect risked a fine or up to one year’s imprisonment in county jail.
The district court’s 66-page opinion was a legal tour-de-force that not only dismantled California’s justifications for the ban, but also reiterated and reinforced the constitutional and historical basis for the right to keep and bear arms.
Much of the modern argument over gun control revolves around the effort to label certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles (and magazines over ten rounds) as “military style” weapons that are effectively unprotected by the Second Amendment. Yet the Ninth Circuit’s language — rooted in the history of the amendment — links constitutional protection to a weapon’s potential militia use. In other words, the “military style” moniker actually connects the guns in question to the historic purpose of the right to bear arms.
Combine this standard with Heller’s clear statement that the Second Amendment was intended to protect weapons in “common use” for “lawful purposes like self defense,” and one begins to see that merely comparing AR-15s or Glocks to military weapons doesn’t render them unprotected. Instead, their common ownership, combined with their “reasonable relationship” to militia use, should enhance, not diminish, their constitutional status, NR reported.
Fox News reports:
The court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the injunction or by concluding that magazines fall within the scope of the Second Amendment.
“The district court did not abuse its discretion by applying the incorrect level of scrutiny,” the judges also found. “The district court concluded that a ban on ammunition magazines is not a presumptively lawful regulation and that the prohibition did not have a ‘historical pedigree.'”
“This is a significant win for law-abiding gun owners in California,” Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement. “This unconstitutional law criminalizes mere possession of many standard capacity magazines and would instantly turn many law-abiding gun owners into criminals.”
Dissenting from the ruling, Judge John Clifford Wallace said that evidence provided by the state, including studies and surveys showing the use of large-capacity magazines increase the lethality of gun violence, “was more than sufficient to satisfy intermediate scrutiny.”
National Review’s David French, who opposes the ban, noted that the Ninth Circuit ruling was limited but also linked constitutional protection of firearms to potential militia use — a development he described as “encouraging.”
The NRA noted that a ruling in the lower courts is expected soon, and that the case therefore will likely be before the 9th Circuit again.
But President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has a strong record of defending gun rights, to the Supreme Court. The NRA reflected that in its statement, expressing hope that if the the case is appealed, “the Supreme Court will likely have a new justice who respects the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment.”
The California Department of Justice told The San Diego Union-Tribune that it will “continue to vigorously defend the challenged law.”
Based in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit has a reputation for being one of the nation’s most liberal courts. Critics have branded the court the “Nutty 9th” or the “9th Circus,” in part because many of its rulings have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. This includes an infamous 2002 ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because of its use of the phrase “under God.”
Republicans have been working to fill vacancies with conservatives, but suffered a setback this week when the White House withdrew the nomination of Ryan Bounds for the Ninth Circuit after realizing it did not have the necessary support in the Senate. He faced criticism over past college writings.