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Supreme Court justice denies request to block California ammunition ordinance

US Supreme Court [official website] Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday rejected without comment an emergency application [text, PDF] to block enforcement of an ordinance that effectively prohibits the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines by civilians in a California city. Section 9.44.050 of Sunnyvale Ordinance No. 3027-13 [text, PDF] defines "large-capacity magazine" to mean "any detachable ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than ten (10) rounds." The US District Court for the Northern District of California and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official websites] previously denied requests to block enforcement of the ban. Applicants of the injunction argued that "firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds are highly effective for self-defense." They also stated that the refusal to grant an injunction could lead to "potentially deadly consequences in a self-defense emergency." In a response [text, PDF] to the injunction request, attorneys for the respondents argued that the applicants "are merely attempting to circumvent the appeals process by asking this Court to prejudge the very issues that are now before the Ninth Circuit in this appeal." The ordinance went into effect in December and will ultimately be litigated before the Ninth Circuit.

Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, a number of states have enacted restrictive gun control laws, many of which have led to subsequent litigation. In February California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed [JURIST report] a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit urging the court to reverse its decision that struck down a law requiring residents to show good cause to carry a concealed firearm. Earlier in February the Supreme Court declined to hear [JURIST report] three new petitions that would address the scope of the Second Amendment. In January a federal district court in Connecticut upheld [JURIST report] the constitutionality of the state's new gun control law [JURIST report]. That same month a federal judge in Illinois struck down [JURIST report] part of Chicago's gun ordinance banning the licensed sale of firearms in the city. Also in January a federal judge in New York upheld [JURIST report] most of state's new gun control law [JURIST report], among the most restrictive in the country, but struck down a provision prohibiting owners to load more than seven rounds into a magazine.

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