Nearly two dozen Republican Attorneys General have signed on to a legal brief arguing that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject California’s ban on ammunition magazines that can accept more than ten rounds of ammunition, weighing in before the court holds oral arguments on the issue.
A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit previously declared the ban unconstitutional, but now the Ninth Circuit is re-hearing the case in an en banc review. Oral arguments will take place later this year, and the AGs in Arizona and Louisiana are leading a coalition of 22 AGs in urging the broader panel of judges to uphold the original decision that struck down the state’s ban.
“California politicians are at it again, convinced that their agendas should override the Constitutional rights of the people,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, in a statement, announcing the filing of an amicus brief. “Attempts to undermine the Second Amendment or any of our civil rights and liberties should be met with deep skepticism and vigorous opposition.”
… The 22 states have filed an amicus brief in support of the pro-gun rights side, arguing that it violates Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms. They say it bans the possession of arms even for self-defense, since the magazines that are banned are integral to some of the most popular firearms.
“California is trying to turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals simply for owning the magazines that come standard to many of the most popular firearms in our country,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement. “As radical leftist lawmakers in California and beyond persist in their attempts to legislatively overrule our constitutional rights, I will continue to stand strong in defense of our right to keep and bear arms.”
As the brief points out, the magazines that are banned in California are in common use across the rest of the United States, and during a one-week period in 2019 when a federal judge allowed these magazines to be sold in California, it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of them were sold to legal gun owners. Second Amendment activists dubbed the seven day period “Freedom Week,” and the staggering number of magazines that were sold is evidence of the high demand among gun owners in California.
The Ninth Circuit isn’t nearly as left-wing as it was just a few years ago, thanks to the judicial appointments of Donald Trump when he was in office, but the the court does still have an anti-gun majority in place. Most recently, an en banc panel of eleven Ninth Circuit judges declared that there’s no general right to to openly carry a firearm, which, taken with a previous decision by the court declaring that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect the right to carry a concealed firearm, means that the Ninth Circuit has written the right to bear arms out of the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment.
Oral arguments in the magazine ban re-hearing are set to take place in June, but we’ll likely have to wait several months after that for the court to issue its opinion. After that, no matter which way the court rules, the case will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court, where hopefully a majority of justices will reiterate what Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the Heller decision that struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban: arms that are in common use for a variety of lawful purposes are protected by the Second Amendment. There’s no doubt that magazines that can accept more than ten rounds are in common use, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty over whether or not the en banc panel in the Ninth Circuit will acknowledge that fact.