By: José Niño
Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in the case Duncan v. Bonta that California’s ban on standard capacity magazines does not infringe the Second Amendment. In doing so, this ruling overturned a lower court decision that held the prohibition was an unconstitutional infringement on the Second Amendment.
Larry Keane, the Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), argued that the Ninth Circuit “ignores historical context, and cherry-picks language and clings to alternatives to ‘allow’ gun owners to possess restricted magazines, and continues to use an interest-weighing test rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller.”
In all likelihood, this case will be petitioned to the Supreme Court. So far, NSSF filed an amicus brief backing the challenge to California’s ban on standard-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez initially ruled the law unconstitutional. A three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision, with the full court subsequently voting 7-4 to uphold the law.
Key to NSSF’s argument against California’s magazine ban is how it severely infringes on citizens’ Second Amendment rights. The state of California originally argued that Second Amendment protections are only applicable to firearms in “common use” for certain cases, such as self-defense.
The Second Amendment, of course, does not stipulate this requirement whatsoever. Similarly, the D.C. v. Heller decision did not establish a “common use” requirement, and instead relied on a “commonly owned” standard.
“High-capacity” magazines are used by millions of lawful gun owners nationwide. They’re not superweapons that criminals frequently use. According to Keane, north of 133 million standard 30-round capacity magazines are in circulation.
The typical argument used to justify accessory bans is that they’re used in horrific crimes. Such reasoning is dangerous. Many normal firearms and accessories are employed in criminal acts, but that doesn’t justify a wholesale abolition of the right to bear arms. The overwhelming majority of American gun owners are peaceful and law-abiding, and we know passing new laws will and does not stop criminals from breaking them.
Ultimately, the magazine ban is just a first step towards the Left’s goal of abolishing the Second Amendment altogether. They understand that they can’t do it in one fell swoop, so they take the gradualist approach of hacking away at the right to bear arms through more targeted bans and other forms of civilian disarmament that make it harder for lawful citizens to arms themselves.
Regardless, the end game remains the same: Destroying the Second Amendment.