Anti-gun politicians and activists in California hit a snag in their effort to limit the size of magazines that can be legally owned in the state.
While a new law sought to ban the possession of any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, a federal judge stepped in and shot down the restriction on constitutional grounds.
In a lengthy ruling on the matter, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez asserted that the law was not based on any existing precedent and would effectively prevent Californians from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“Removable firearm magazines of all sizes are necessary components of semiautomatic firearms,” he determined. “Therefore, magazines come within the text of the constitutional declaration that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The judge went on to conclude that there are “millions of removable firearm magazines able to hold between 10 and 30 rounds” that are already in the possession of law-abiding Americans.
Benitez’s ruling also took a swipe at the wider trend of leftist politicians instituting knee-jerk responses to specific instances of violent crime.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
His ruling included a history lesson for those who believe the U.S. Constitution can be amended by legislative or executive decree on the state level.
“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,” Benitez asserted. “The freedom they fought for was worth fighting for then, and that freedom is entitled to be preserved still.”
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom reacted by attacking the judge on social media, but the ruling was just the latest in a string of judicial rebukes of overly ambitious efforts to curtail the Second Amendment.
BREAKING: California's high-capacity magazine ban was just STRUCK DOWN by Judge Benitez, an extremist, right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.
Wake up, America.
Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional…
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 23, 2023
Earlier this month, a federal judge intervened to halt Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency order banning both concealed and open firearm carry rights in Albuquerque.
The California ruling gave state Attorney General Rob Bonta 10 days to appeal for a stay.