Tag Archives: high-capacity magazines

Judge blocks California’s high-capacity magazine ban

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Score one for the Second Amendment.

From ABC News: A federal judge on Thursday blocked a California law set to take effect Saturday that would have barred gun owners from possessing high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The judge ruled that the ban approved by the Legislature and voters last year takes away gun owners’ Second Amendment rights and amounts to the government taking people’s private property without compensation.

California law has prohibited buying or selling the magazines since 2000, but until now allowed those who had them to keep them.

“Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of otherwise law-abiding citizens will have an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property,” San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote. (Judge Benitez was appointed by George W. Bush.)

He issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect while he considers the underlying lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association-affiliated California Rifle & Pistol Association.

Meanwhile, a Sacramento-based judge on Thursday rejected a similar challenge by several other gun owners’ rights organizations, creating what Ari Freilich, staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, called “dueling opinions” that may be sorted out on appeal. “Unfortunately this law will be delayed but we are confident it will go into effect, and soon,” he said.

He called the San Diego lawsuit and ruling part of an effort by the NRA “to delay and dismantle California’s law brick by brick.”

Had the ban taken effect, owners would have been required to get rid of their magazines by sending them out of state, altering them to hold no more than 10 bullets, destroying them or turning them into law enforcement agencies. Possession could have been punished by $100 fines or up to a year in jail.

Owners can now keep the magazines until a final ruling by Benitez or if an appeals court overturns his injunction, said Chuck Michel, attorney for the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association.

“This court recognized that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right and that law-abiding gun owners have the right to own these magazines to defend themselves and their families,” Michel said.

State lawmakers approved the ban last year as part of a package of bills adding to what already were some of the nation’s strictest gun laws. Voters agreed in November when they approved Proposition 63, a measure that toughened the penalties by allowing violators to be fined or jailed.

Benitez said he was mindful of voters’ approval and government’s legitimate interest in protecting the public but added that the “Constitution is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.”

Gun owner’s constitutional rights “are not eliminated simply because they possess ‘unpopular’ magazines holding more than 10 rounds,” he wrote in a 66-page decision.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra criticized the decision but did not say what he will do next. “Proposition 63 was overwhelmingly approved by voters to increase public safety and enhance security in a sensible and constitutional way,” Becerra said in a statement. “I will defend the will of California voters because we cannot continue to lose innocent lives due to gun violence.”

Supporters say that magazines often holding 30 or 100 bullets are typically used in mass shootings and aren’t needed by hunters or civilian owners. “Clearly it escalates the lethality in any mass shooting when high-capacity magazines are involved,” said Amanda Wilcox, a spokeswoman for the California chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence whose daughter was fatally shot.

Forcing assailants to change magazines more frequently gives victims time to flee or subdue the shooter, Becerra argued in court filings.

He listed as examples the shooting in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people and injured 53; the terrorist assault that killed 14 and injured 22 in San Bernardino; the massacre of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; and the Arizona attack that killed six and wounded 13 including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Moreover, the government wouldn’t own the magazines in the way it would property seized for a new highway or public building, he argued, since the magazines would be destroyed by law enforcement agencies.

Becerra said opponents’ Second Amendment challenge has repeatedly been rejected by other courts, allowing at least seven other states and 11 local governments to already restrict the possession or sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines.

DCG

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AG Bob Ferguson unveils assault-weapons ban for Washington — and a backup plan

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AG Ferguson working hard to protect your Second Amendment rights…

I’m so glad I now reside in Oklahoma instead of Washington state!

From Seattle Times: Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposed legislation on Monday that would ban the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines in Washington.

Recognizing the political difficulty of such a bill, Ferguson, who announced in September that he would seek an assault-weapons ban, also released an alternative on Monday: a bill that would keep assault-style weapons legal, but would make them more difficult to buy, by raising the minimum age to legally own such a firearm and requiring them to be licensed, similar to a concealed-weapons license.

The draft bill Ferguson released Monday, the first day of the 2017 Legislature, would ban semi-automatic rifles that have a detachable magazine and a pistol grip beneath the barrel. It would also ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and semi-automatic pistols with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Ferguson, a Democrat who easily won re-election in November, said the definitions of “assault weapon” used in his bill are similar to those used in laws in New York and Connecticut that withstood legal challenges. The ban would apply only to sales of such weapons, grandfathering in currently owned guns.

A second bill from Ferguson would not ban such weapons but would require them to be licensed. To get a license, a person would have to be at least 21 (rather than 18), would have to complete a gun-safety class and could not have been convicted of a felony. To buy an assault weapon, a person would need a license, an additional in-depth background check and be subject to a 10-day waiting period.

“I believe a ban on the sale of assault weapons is the right policy for Washington, and I will keep fighting for that,” Ferguson said in a prepared statement. “I’ve said from the beginning that it would be an uphill battle. My alternative represents meaningful reform that will enhance public safety now.”

Both bills will be sponsored by Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, among others. Frockt was one of dozens of solely Democratic lawmakers and officials at a September news conference, in which Ferguson said he’d been spurred by the July killings of three teenagers in Mukilteo.

Allen Ivanov, the shooter in the Mukilteo killings, pleaded guilty in December. Ivanov, then 19, had, according to police, legally purchased an AR-15 — a common assault-style weapon that would be banned by Ferguson’s bill — just days before the killings. Similar weapons were used in high-profile mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; San Bernardino, Calif., Dallas and Orlando, among others.

Among the supporters standing with Ferguson in September were the parents of Will Kramer, who was wounded in the Mukilteo shooting. Kramer’s parents spoke in support of an assault-weapons ban then, and his father did so again Monday. “If our current political leadership doesn’t have the will to pass a ban on the sale of assault weapons, I would support the assault weapons enhanced background check bill as an incremental step towards increasing public safety and reducing gun violence,” Paul Kramer said in a statement.

Gun-safety measures have had far more success in recent years as ballot initiatives than in the Legislature, where Republicans control the state Senate and generally oppose new restrictions on guns.

A push for universal background checks passed on the ballot in 2014 after failing in the Legislature in 2013. A process to keep guns away from people deemed dangerous — following a court order — passed on the ballot in November after previous legislative failures.

DCG