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Federal Appellate Court Upholds Decision to Block California’s Magazine Surrender Requirement

Friday, July 20, 2018

Federal Appellate Court Upholds Decision to Block California’s Magazine Surrender Requirement


Last summer, we reported on the welcome news that a federal court had blocked California’s plan to require owners of “large capacity” magazines to surrender or otherwise rid themselves of their formerly-lawful property. As the judge in that case had put it: “On July 1, 2017, any previously law-abiding person in California who still possesses a firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds will begin their new life of crime.” That was a bridge too far, he decided, and blocked enforcement of the law’s dispossession requirement. California appealed that ruling, and now over a year later a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling. The case, Duncan v. Becerra, is supported by both the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are challenging a 2016 ban on so-called “large capacity magazines” (i.e., most ammunition feeding devices “with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds”).  California’s law went beyond similar laws in other anti-gun states by prohibiting not only the manufacturing, sale, or importation of such magazines but also their possession, including by those who had lawfully obtained them before the ban’s effective date of July 1, 2017. The only way for such people to comply with the law’s new requirements would be to surrender their magazines to the police, move them out of the state, or sell the magazines to a licensed firearms dealer.

On June 29, 2017, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that the requirement for current owners to dispossess themselves of lawfully-acquired magazines likely violated the Second Amendment and the Constitution’s Taking Clause. “If this injunction does not issue, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property,” Judge Benitez wrote. “That is a choice they should not have to make.” He therefore ordered California not to enforce the dispossession requirements while the underlying case on the ban’s constitutionality was being resolved. Judge Benitez’s ruling did, however, allow for enforcement of the state’s ban on the manufacturing, sale, and importation of the magazines.

On Tuesday, two out of three judges hearing the case on appeal upheld that decision. Those judges emphasized that Judge Benitez was within his authority to discount the supposed support the state offered for the ban as “incomplete,” “unreliable,” and “biased.” The majority also chided the dissenting judge for substituting his own discretion for that of Judge Benitez, who had the primary responsibility to evaluate and weigh the evidence in the case. Notably, California had attempted to justify the ban before Judge Benitez by invoking, among other things, a 2013 report from the gun control advocacy group Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns.

Unfortunately, this latest decision does not conclusively resolve the case. California can appeal the enforcement ruling to the full Ninth Circuit, which could overturn the decision and allow the surrender provisions to go into effect. And even if the decision is allowed to stand, the underlying case still must be resolved before Judge Benitez, who could change his mind once all the evidence is fully presented.

All of which only underscores the importance of a strong Second Amendment backstop at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Judge Brett Kavanaugh — President Trump’s latest nominee to the high court — could play a decisive role in this and other Second Amendment cases currently making their way through the lower courts.

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Gun Laws  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Round Two: Gun Rights Groups Prevail (Again) in Second Challenge to Firearm Restrictions in Delaware’s State Parks, Forests

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Friday, October 12, 2018

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Jamie Lee Curtis “Proves” She is Not Anti-gun by Stating her Support for Banning Guns?!?!

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Friday, October 12, 2018

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Actors and actresses should generally stick to what they know best; repeating the lines others have written for them. Jamie Lee Curtis recently decided to try to explain, in her own words, how much she ...

South Carolina: Governor McMaster Signs Pro-Gun Bill

Monday, May 22, 2017

South Carolina: Governor McMaster Signs Pro-Gun Bill

Last Friday, May 19, Governor Henry McMaster (R) signed H. 3429 into law.  This bill went into effect upon the Governor’s approval.

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

Senator from Tennessee or Times Square? Bloomberg Hosts Manhattan Fundraiser for Phil Bredesen

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.