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California Appeals San Diego Judge's Ruling Overturning Assault Weapon Ban

 June 23, 2021 at 11:55 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 A case against one of California's gun reform laws, which could be a bellwether for the fate of many such laws was heard by the full panel of judges of the ninth circuit court of appeals. Tuesday. The issue is whether California's voter approved ban on large capacity magazines, which hold 10 rounds of ammunition or more violates the second amendment, the arguments for and against the ban may also apply to other California gun reform measures and a ruling in favor of gun rights. Advocates could open the door to a dismantling of the state's strict gun laws. And joining me is courthouse news, reporter Bianca, Bruno, and Bianca. Welcome. Hi Maureen, how are you very well now tell us more about what this law bans gun owners from having. Speaker 2: 00:47 So proposition 63 was passed by two-thirds of California voters in 2016, and it basically strengthened the state's ban on large capacity gun magazines, which hold 10 rounds of ammunition or more. And so the state had passed that ban in 2000, but it allowed for a grandfather exemption for gun owners who had purchased the magazines prior to that law to keep them so in 2016 voters decided they didn't like that exemption and that no one should be allowed to own these firearm attachments that are used in virtually all mass shootings. Speaker 1: 01:32 This case Duncan V Besera has already been decided in favor of gun rights advocates in a lower court and in a three judge panel of the ninth circuit. Now the full 11 judge panel of the ninth circuit is hearing the case. So tell us about the arguments that they heard yesterday first from the state defending the ban. Speaker 2: 01:53 So the state has argued that as part of its public health interests to protect Californians, that it means to ban firearm attachments that are most frequently used in mass shootings, but not only are they used in mass shootings, they increase the lethality of mass shootings by allowing a shooter to shoot multiple bullets in succession and harm or injure or kill more people in less amount of time. So really the state is focused on preventing those incidents from happening and preventing more people from dying when they do happen. And the state has argued that gun owners who own large capacity magazines do not even need them for self-defense because when it comes to, uh, someone defending themselves at home and incidents where people have needed to shoot their weapons, they typically shoot two point bullets so far less than, than the 10 bullets allowed in the state. And certainly far less than what a large capacity magazine can hold. So the state's arguing essentially, you don't need that many bullets to defend yourself. And so this really is a minor inconvenience to gun owners. Speaker 1: 03:18 And what's the argument that's been successful so far from the gun owners about why that ban is unconstitutional. Speaker 2: 03:26 That owners have argued that the large capacity magazine ban, um, was basically an arbitrary number, kind of picked out of a hat by the state of California that, um, the 10 number band, it doesn't really have in data showing that there's some magic number with 10. And the, their concern is that LCMS with, you know, 10 or 13 or 17 bullets are really commonly owned by gun owners. And they're commonly sold as a standard attachment when someone purchases a firearm. And so because of that commonality of how many people own them, they're really saying that this burdens the rights of gun owners that it burdens the second amendment, Speaker 1: 04:16 Did the judges signal, how they might be leaning in this case, there Speaker 2: 04:20 Was kind of the lengthy interesting back and forth questioning with a circuit judge at the ninth circuit who was appointed by Donald Trump. He was actually the last judge to be appointed to the ninth circuit court of appeals before president Trump left office and his name was Lawrence van. And so he's kind of argued that the state's position that people rarely need more than a few bullets to defend themselves. Doesn't hold up because on the flip side, mass shootings compared to all shooting incidents are also rare. And so he kind of suggested that the state's argument hinges on the rarity of the need to have more than a few bullets just doesn't hold up because mass shootings are also rare. And so the state's interest in preventing them from happening. It can't outweigh the interests of gun owners to own those attachments. According to that, judge, Speaker 1: 05:28 The large capacity magazine ban was initially overturned by a federal judge here in San Diego judge, Roger Benitez, the same judge who recently overturned California's ban on assault weapons, that he has said some unusual things about these weapons. Hasn't it? Speaker 2: 05:48 He has, he has really come out in these very lengthy court orders. I think the first one was about 70 pages and a subsequent one was over a hundred pages. So very lengthy, almost manifesto type court orders that really appear to be written by someone who's not only sympathetic to, uh, gun owners, but who is, you know, almost using their position as a judicial officer to advocate for them. Um, when I first covered this case in 2018, he said in open court that he believed women would be raped and dead without access to more than 10 bullets, that they could shoot 10 bullets for a home invasion and run out of bullets and then, you know, be out of luck. And that position has really continued throughout his court opinions on the case. Now he no longer has jurisdiction over the case because the in blank panel of the ninth circuit has now taken over the case. And really this decision, uh, that they will come out with and about 60 or 90 days will be kind of the final say on the matter, unless the case gets appealed to the Supreme court. Speaker 1: 07:15 And I have been speaking with courthouse news, reporter, Bianca Bruno, Bianca. Thank you. Thanks Maureen.

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A federal appeals court panel Monday put an indefinite hold on a San Diego federal judge's ruling that overturned California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons.
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