US District Court Judge Roger Benitez ruled Friday that California’s ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds imposes a burden on the constitutional rights of its citizens.
The high-capacity ban provision is included in Prop. 63, which was approved by California voters in 2016 in reaction to the killing of 14 people and the wounding of 17 others by two terrorists in a San Bernardino.
In his opinion, Benitez cited dramatic instances where victims of home invasions did not have the capability of reloading their weapons to defend themselves, including:
When three armed intruders carrying what look like semi-automatic pistols broke into the home of a single woman at 3:44 a.m., she dialed 911. No answer. Feng Zhu Chen, dressed in pajamas, held a phone in one hand and took up her pistol in the other and began shooting. She fired numerous shots. She had no place to carry an extra magazine and no way to reload because her left hand held the phone with which she was still trying to call 911. After the shooting was over and two of the armed suspects got away and one lay dead, she did get through to the police. The home security camera video is dramatic.
If a Californian has a 17 round magazine and is defending his home from invasion he is committing a new crime Benitez added. Additionally he stated that California has tried an end run around the Second Amendment by declaring that magazines over 10 rounds are a nuisance, which would be like declaring books a nuisance to get around the First Amendment.
California Penal Code § 32310 criminalizes the acquisition and possession of magazines over 10 rounds and places a burden on the Second Amendment, Benitez wrote. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that his office is “committed to defending California’s common sense gun laws” and is reviewing the decision and evaluating its next steps.