Pro-Gun Victory: NRA-Supported 2nd Amendment Case Scores Massive Win in California
In a major win for the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment supporters everywhere, a California court struck down a law banning so-called high-capacity magazines that was championed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, among others.
In his Friday decision in Duncan v. Becerra, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California wrote that because of “a few mad men with guns and ammunition,” the law “turns millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals,” according to the Merced Sun-Star.
“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” he wrote.
“In his Friday ruling, the judge cited three home invasions in which women fought against the attackers and, he said, would have been more effective if they’d had higher-capacity gun magazines,” the San Francisco Chronicle noted.
“He wrote that although mass shootings are ‘tragic,’ they are far less prevalent than robberies, aggravated assaults and homicides in homes — and those more common crimes sometimes require maximum firepower because ‘unless a law-abiding individual has a firearm for his or her own defense, the police typically arrive after it is too late,” the Chronicle reported.
“’The size limit (on magazines) directly impairs one’s ability to defend one’s self,’ he wrote.”
In a news release, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action praised the Benitez ruling.
“The NRA-supported case had already been up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the question of whether the law’s enforcement should be suspended during proceedings on its constitutionality,” the release stated.
It reviewed some of the history of the court fight.
“Last July, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Benitez’s suspension of enforcement and sent the case back to him for further proceedings on the merits of the law itself.
“In a scholarly and comprehensive opinion, Judge Benitez subjected the ban both to the constitutional analysis he argued was required by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and a more complicated and flexible test the Ninth Circuit has applied in prior Second Amendment cases.
“Either way, Judge Benitez ruled, the law would fail. Indeed, he characterized the California law as ‘turning the Constitution upside down.’ He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.”
“Judge Benitez took the Second Amendment seriously and came to the conclusion required by the Constitution,” NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said in the news release.
“The same should be true of any court analyzing a ban on a class of arms law-abiding Americans commonly possess for self-defense or other lawful purposes.”
Cox said the decision was a “huge win for gun owners” and a “landmark recognition of what courts have too often treated as a disfavored right.”
The ban on magazines larger than 10 rounds was part of Proposition 63, a suite of gun control measures passed by California voters in 2016.
While Prop 63 passed with 63 percent of the vote, it’s yet to be enforced due to legal challenges.
“Unfortunately, Friday’s opinion is not likely to be the last word on the case. The state will likely appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which has proven notably hostile to the Second Amendment in past decisions,” the NRA-ILA said in its release.
“Nevertheless, the thoroughness of Judge Benitez’s analysis should give Second Amendment supporters the best possible chance for success in appellate proceedings, particularly if the case ultimately lands before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“In the meantime, Friday’s order prohibits California from enforcing its magazine restrictions, leaving its law-abiding residents safer and freer, at least for the time being.”
After its stop in the historically liberal 9th District, legal experts have said the case will likely end up before the Supreme Court. In the meantime, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says he’s looking at what to do next.
“We are committed to defending California’s common sense gun laws — we are reviewing the decision and will evaluate next steps,” Bacerra said in a statement, according to the Chronicle.
Unfortunately, “California’s common sense gun laws” deprive its citizens of the freedom to defend themselves with little demonstrated benefit. Beyond that, they’re yet another method of chipping away at the Second Amendment.
One hopes that some court — whether it be the 9th Circuit or (more likely) the Supreme Court — takes the words “shall not be infringed” seriously.
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