SACRAMENTO (AP) – The U.S. 9th Court of Appeals overturned two lower court judges Tuesday and upheld California’s ban on high-capacity magazines.
“The law does not prohibit a weapon, it only limits the size of the magazine that can be used with firearms,” ruled the judges in the 7-4 decision.
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The majority argued that “the records show that the restriction only minimally encroaches on the core right of self-defense, as there is no evidence that anyone ever moved to his home and family due to the lack of a large capacity magazine; and … that the restriction saves lives. “
The San Francisco-based court’s en banc panel acted after two out of three judges on a smaller 9th district panel ruled the state’s ban on magazines with more than 10 bullets against the protection of the right to carry firearms , violates the US Constitution.
Gun owners’ rights groups have tried to bring firearms cases to a more conservative US Supreme Court and immediately vowed to seek review by the high court.
Seven judges on the eleven-member board of the 9th District were appointed by Democratic presidents, but the nation’s Supreme Court leaned down to the right with appointments from former President Donald Trump.
The three-person jury supported a 2017 ruling by San Diego-based US District Judge Roger Benitez, who declared a state law unconstitutional that has banned the purchase or sale of such magazines since 2000. This law prohibited new sales or imports, but let those who previously owned the magazines keep them.
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The lower court ruling also prohibited the state from enforcing a voter-approved law prohibiting gun owners from possession of magazines containing more than 10 bullets.
Aside from affecting high-capacity magazine laws in California and other states, the ruling is helping to lift a roadblock on other pending state-banned assault weapons cases.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a leading group campaigning for gun restrictions, said state officials appeals against Benitez’s decision earlier this year to lift California’s assault weapons restrictions has been put on hold, while the 9th district’s ban on magazines is high Capacity considered.
The ruling on assault weapons is also on hold while the appeals court examines the same issues in another case where another federal judge upheld the state’s 2018 ban.
Aside from the merits of each case, the appeals court will weigh the legal standard that the courts must consider in cases of the second amendment. Groups of gun owners hope that the recently more conservative US Supreme Court will change the legal tests in their favor.
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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press.