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Lawsuit Challenges California Gun Magazine Ban

People line up to shoot at clay targets at an outdoor gun range at P2K Sports in El Cajon, February 1, 2017.
Susan Murphy
People line up to shoot at clay targets at an outdoor gun range at P2K Sports in El Cajon, February 1, 2017.

Lawsuit Challenges California Gun Magazine Ban
Lawsuit Challenges California Gun Magazine Ban GUEST:Dan Eaton, partner, Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

This is KPBS Midday Edition . I am Michael Lipkin. The top story on the midday addition, part of the ballot is the subject of a new federal lawsuit, proposition 63 bands the possession of gun magazines that carries more than 10 bullets. The National Rifle Association's claim that the band violates the Second Amendment. They say this lawsuit is one in a series of challenges against the latest gun restrictions. Joining me is Dan Eaton. Is a partner. Welcome to the program. Thank you. California banned the sale of large capacity magazines in 2000. What is different about the law that this is challenging? Back this prohibits the possession of large capacity magazines of over 10 rounds. The people say that infringes our right to possess these and requires us to turn them over by July 1st to law enforcement or sell it to a licensed dealer. That infringes not only the right to the Second Amendment but also the right to due process. That what is the argument? We will talk about the Second Amendment cases but what does the law say about how possessions can be taken away? This prohibits the government from taking your property without compensation and due process of law. They say it requires us to dispose of this without the government giving us money for the magazines that were lawfully acquired. It is clear that those who are bringing the lawsuit would not be content or satisfied with the government simply paying them for the value of the magazines that they are required to relinquish expect the appeals courts have taken up several bands on magazines. Have the appeal courts found that those were unconstitutional? Back I am not aware of any but that goes to the issue of the fact that the Supreme Court has to clarify the scope of the second amended -- amendment. There was the Heller decision and it recognized, it recognizes the individual right to keep your arms. This issue and related issues are ultimately headed for the Supreme Court. This dates back to a ruling in 2010 that people have a Second Amendment right to keep guns in their homes for personal use. Have there been gun regulations that have been found unconstitutional? Back understand this case that originated in San Diego was originally found to be unconstitutional. That is concerning concealed or open carry. The basic issue in that case was whether the regulations effectively banned the right to carry concealed weapons and open carry. That was the critical question. The original panel said that was an abridgment. The Ninth Circuit, a larger panel by the majority, they ultimately overturned the decision and read -- reinstated those regulations. That will drive -- push that potential. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled with gun regulations that is unconstitutional since that relation? Not that I've seen. Actually, even with respect to this decision, the last action was a denial of the ruling in August of last year. This is very much in the system. This was about the sheriff department that had a policy, making it hard to get permits. What is the status of that case? If it were to reach the supreme court, what might you know? What the status is that ultimately, the broader panel of the Ninth Circuit, it ultimately is found that the sheriff regulations were constitutional under the Second Amendment. The plaintiffs in that case said look, we want them to look at this again. The Ninth Circuit denied the request in August of last year. It is still percolating. Who know what they will do. As of earlier this year, until recently, the supreme court was not at full strength. Now that they are in full strength with the institution of course which, we could see this at this issue. If not in this case, certainly in other cases that are pending around the country pick You said this is a series of cases they plan on launching. Do you think there is a connection between the suits coming in the recent confirmation that you are talking about with no or such? Back there is a connection to the fact that the regulation in this lawsuit, it does not go into effect until July 1. You have to file this now if we are going to get an injection with this large capacity magazine be in. Secondly, now that they have a Supreme Court that is overlooking the eventual disposition of the case, they may feel more comfortable and confident that the Supreme Court could look at this issue ultimately and reach a decision on the merits which they could not have had confidence until the court was at full strength. I have been speaking with Dan Eaton. Thank you so much. Sure. Thank you Mike.

A coalition of gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association, filed another lawsuit on Thursday challenging California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. The lawsuit, Duncan V. Becerra, argues the ban violates the Second Amendment and the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.


“Legislators in California routinely enact laws that only affect the law-abiding and do nothing to enhance public safety,” said Chris Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “This lawsuit, and others that will follow, is an effort to ensure the rights of law-abiding gun owners are respected in California.”

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The lawsuit is the second in a series challenging the anti-gun laws passed last year, which include a ban on some semiautomatic rifles and background checks for purchasing ammunition.

The restrictions bolstered the state’s position of having the toughest gun controls in the nation.

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