California high-capacity gun magazine ban upheld by federal appeals court

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A federal appeals court handed California Gov. Gavin Newsom a victory Tuesday, upholding a ban on high-capacity ammunition gun magazines.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in a divided 7-4 ruling, wrote that the ammunition ban is “a reasonable fit for the important government interest of reducing gun violence.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Oakland, California, on Oct. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

“The statute outlaws no weapon, but only limits the size of the magazine that may be used with firearms, and the record demonstrates (a) that the limitation interferes only minimally with the core right of self-defense, as there is no evidence that anyone ever has been unable to defend his or her home and family due to the lack of a large-capacity magazine,” the ruling states.

The ruling upholds SB 1446 and Proposition 63, both enacted in 2016, that were implemented in response to mass shootings. Newsom called the ruling a “huge victory.”

Cerakote-coated 80% lower receivers for AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at Firearms Unknown, a gun store in Oceanside, California, April 12, 2021. Unfinished and inoperable so-called "80% receivers" are not legally considered firearms and do not require background checks to purchase in most states, but can be used to assemble un-serialized "ghost guns". (REUTERS/Bing Guan)

The en banc panel of the San Francisco-based court acted after two of three judges on a smaller 9th Circuit panel last year ruled that the state’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets violates the Constitution’s protection of the right to bear firearms.

Seven judges on the 11-member 9th Circuit panel were appointed by Democratic presidents.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in San Francisco on Sept. 14, 2021.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Three Trump-appointed judges dissented in the ruling and argued “these magazines are lawfully owned by millions of people nationwide,” adding that if a similar law was enacted in every state it would “require confiscating half of all existing firearms magazines in this country.”

Associated Press contributed to this report

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