Federal Judge Halts California Ban on 10 Bullet Gun Magazines

California has one of the strictest gun laws in the nation. After voters on November 8, 2016 passed Proposition 63, the state legislature concurred and the Governor signed into law a ban on possessing high capacity ammunition magazines (those that hold 10 or more bullets), which law was to go into effect July 1, 2017, making it a misdemeanor with punishment of a $100 fine and up to one year in County Jail. Previously in 2000, it was only unlawful to sell or buy high capacity gun magazines. On June 29th, a San Diego Federal District Court Judge ruled the ban was an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S Constitution.  A Sacramento Federal Judge previously declined to take such action. At this time, therefore, those that already possess large capacity gun magazines can now keep them until a higher court rules on the temporary injunction or it becomes final.

Proponents of the ban have claimed it forces those using guns to reload by changing smaller capacity gun magazines, thereby allowing a victim to subdue the assailant and/or have an adequate period of time to flee.

Opponents state that argument does not apply to law-abiding citizens who previously were allowed to keep the high-capacity magazines they owned, as part of their constitutional right to defend themselves and their families. Additionally, they argued the law would have taken away private property without compensation.

Although not the subject of this blog, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on June 31st to not hear a case in which gun owners had complained their right to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense outside of one’s home was denied because they could not prove their desire to do so in public was no different than the right to self-protection of the general population. Both Justice Clarence Thomas and President Trump’s recent nomination of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch came out with a very strong dissent to that of the majority essentially criticizing the indefensible power of the State to regulate.

Update on the Right to Carry a Concealed Weapon

In the recent case of Edward Peruta vs. County of San Diego, 10-56971, (February, 2014), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held a private citizen may carry a firearm in public for self-defense pursuant to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  

 As a general rule, one previously could not carry a concealed weapon in California unless an application was first submitted to the County Sheriff’s Department and the right to do so was granted. One had to show good moral character and establish good cause after completion of a gun training class. In San Diego County, however, good cause has been strictly construed. In fact, establishing that one is concerned about their own personal safety would not suffice. The Sheriff has required one to prove a sufficiently pressing need for self-protection different than the mainstream population.  In order to obtain a concealed carry weapon permit (CCW) in San Diego, one heretofore had to prove a unique risk of harm

 The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the right to bear arms within the Second Amendment affords one the right to carry a concealed weapon outside of their home for self-defense. In doing so, the Court determined the interpretation of good cause by the Sheriff in San Diego County infringed that right. This is a significant victory for gun owners. Nonetheless, the current policy and procedures will, likely not change due to an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court that will no doubt be filed by officials of San Diego County.