California Magazine Capacity Law Struck Down By Federal Judge

A federal judge released a decision on Friday blocking California’s law that banned gun magazines holding more than ten rounds, deeming it unconstitutional.

In a 71-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez of the Southern District of California stated that law-abiding citizens possessed constitutional rights to own magazines with capacities exceeding ten rounds, and he emphasized that California lacked a historical legal precedent to justify the enactment of such a law.

Benitez wrote in his ruling, “Removable firearm magazines of all sizes are necessary components of semiautomatic firearms. Therefore, magazines come within the text of the constitutional declaration that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Because millions of removable firearm magazines able to hold between 10 and 30 rounds are commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, including self-defense, and because they are reasonably related to service in the militia, the magazines are presumptively within the protection of the Second Amendment.”

The judge argued that California had failed to provide sufficient justification for its “sweeping ban and dispossession mandate,” initially passed through a ballot initiative in 2016.

Benitez went on to say, “One government solution to a few mad men with guns is a law that makes into criminals responsible, law-abiding people wanting larger magazines simply to protect themselves. The history and tradition of the Second Amendment clearly supports state laws against the use or misuse of firearms with unlawful intent but not the disarmament of the law-abiding citizen.”

He continued, “The adoption of the Second Amendment was a freedom calculus decided long ago by our first citizens who cherished individual freedom with its risks more than the subservient security of a British ruler or the smothering safety of domestic lawmakers. The freedom they fought for was worth fighting for then, and that freedom is entitled to be preserved still.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) criticized the decision, labeling Judge Benitez as a “right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.”

Newsom posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Wake up, America. Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional Amendment to protect our kids and end the gun violence epidemic in America.”

Judge Benitez’s order will be delayed for ten days while California Attorney General Rob Bonta seeks to obtain a stay on the decision.