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Politics

AG Files Petition For Review of Appeals Court's Ruling Tossing Magazine Ban

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., May 21, 2018.
Associated Press
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., May 21, 2018.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office filed a petition Friday calling for a review of an appeals court ruling that threw out the state's ban on large-capacity magazines.

On Aug. 14, a three-justice panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez, who found that the ban on the acquisition and possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds was unconstitutional.

Becerra is calling for an en banc review, stating the panel's ruling is inconsistent with existing case law.

"Our commonsense gun safety measures here in California have a track record of success in doing what they were meant to do — keep our communities safe," Becerra said. "We disagree with the court's initial decision and will continue to use every tool we have to defend the constitutionality of our laws."

In the majority opinion issued earlier this month, U.S. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lee wrote that the ban's "sweeping scope and breathtaking breadth" is a substantial burden on Second Amendment rights, as magazines holding more than 10 rounds account for nearly half of the nation's magazines and are largely used for lawful purposes.

"We understand the purpose in passing this law," the opinion reads. "But even the laudable goal of reducing gun violence must comply with the constitution. California's near-categorical ban of LCMs infringes on the fundamental right to self-defense. It criminalizes the possession of half of all magazines in America today. It makes unlawful magazines that are commonly used in handguns by law-abiding citizens for self-defense. And it substantially burdens the core right of self-defense guaranteed to the people under the Second Amendment. It cannot stand."

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn dissented, stating that the law does not substantially burden Second Amendment rights because it does not prevent citizens from using "handguns or other weapons in self-defense."

Lynn wrote that "the prohibition on LCMs is more analogous to a restriction on how someone exercises their Second Amendment rights, by restricting the number of bullets a person may shoot from one firearm without reloading."

Benitez issued his ruling in favor of several San Diego County gun owners who argued in their lawsuit that the ban burdened lawful gun owners and did little to reduce gun violence.