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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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Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Maine: Firearm Seizure Bill Heads To Judiciary Committee

On April 22nd, the Maine Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Legislative Document 1312, which would allow for firearms to be seized and Second Amendment rights to be suspended without due process. 

California: DOJ Issues “Notice of Modification” to Proposed Ammunition Background Check Regulations

Thursday, April 18, 2019

California: DOJ Issues “Notice of Modification” to Proposed Ammunition Background Check Regulations

Today, the California Department of Justice issued a “Notice of Modification” to their proposed regulations regarding the soon to be implemented ammunition background check procedures. As a result of these changes, a second 15-day public ...

Idaho: Governor Signs Important Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Idaho: Governor Signs Important Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Yesterday, Governor Brad Little signed important self-defense legislation, House Bill 206, into law.

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

NRA Statement on New York City's Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

NRA reacts to New York City's attempt to avoid having the NRA-supported Supreme Court case N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, et al. v. City of N.Y., et al heard in DC. 

Oregon: Gun Control Package Sent To Another Committee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Oregon: Gun Control Package Sent To Another Committee

Thanks to NRA members and Second Amendment supporters who contacted their state Senators in opposition, Senate Bill 978 has been sent to the Oregon Senate Committee on Rules instead of directly to the Senate floor ...

Pittsburgh Residents Seek Preliminary Injunction Against Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines

News  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pittsburgh Residents Seek Preliminary Injunction Against Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines

With support from the NRA, gun owners challenging Pittsburgh’s ban on publicly carrying loaded magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds filed a motion today seeking a preliminary injunction. If the motion is granted, ...

Texas: House Passes Evacuation Carry Bill

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Texas: House Passes Evacuation Carry Bill

On Thursday, the Texas House gave final approval to House Bill 1177 by a vote of 102-29.

Swiss to Vote on Implementation of EU Gun Controls

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Swiss to Vote on Implementation of EU Gun Controls

On May 19, Swiss citizens will go to the polls to vote in a referendum that will determine whether the peaceful mountain nation will acquiesce to the mandates of the European Firearms Directive. The Swiss have a proud ...

Breaking! Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

News  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Breaking! Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined on Friday that California’s ...

Another Day, Another Hearing with Anti-Gun Democrats Grandstanding on Firearms

News  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Another Day, Another Hearing with Anti-Gun Democrats Grandstanding on Firearms

On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing it called, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 years after the Financial Crisis.” If you are wondering what that could ...

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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.