Back in 2013, the city of Los Angeles’s city council proposed an ordinance banning the possession of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds (so-called “large-capacity” magazines). Unfortunately, on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, after a two year delay, the city council unanimously passed an amended version of this useless ordinance and sent it to the Mayor for his signature, which the Mayor has indicated he is eager to provide.
This ordinance will not prevent violent crime or mass shootings, but it does limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners who choose these magazines to defend themselves and their families. As most gun owners already know, magazines holding more than ten rounds are standard equipment for many popular pistols and rifles, especially those that are selected for defensive purposes. These standard capacity magazines are possessed by millions of law-abiding Americans for a variety of lawful purposes, including self-defense.
If signed into law, people who legally possess magazines over 10 rounds have a 60-day grace period to sell those magazines, remove the magazines from the city, or turn them over to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Unlike California’s magazine law, individuals currently in lawful possession of these magazines will not be protected by a “grandfather” clause. The ordinance effectively amounts to confiscation because the magazines must either be turned-in or removed from within city limits. Either option obviously eliminates the inherent value in these magazines as tools for self-defense.
Sunnyvale and San Francisco have already adopted similar ordinances, and both of those ordinances have been challenged in court. The NRA supported case against the Sunnyvale ordinance is currently awaiting an appeal after the Ninth Circuit ruled against an attempt to prevent the ordinance from going into effect.
These ordinances give insight into what anti-gun activists will pursue if given the opportunity. Law abiding citizens who are in compliance with California’s already burdensome gun laws are not a public safety threat, yet Sunnyvale, San Francisco, and now Los Angeles are seeking to turn the law-abiding into criminals one step at a time. While court battles against these ordinances continue, the best option for gun owners is to ensure that their elected representatives, including those at the local level, understand that ineffective, ideologically-driven restrictions on our Second Amendment rights have consequences at the ballot box.