New Jersey Attorney General Leads Battle in Opposition of SCOTUS on Magazine Capacities

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Grant, vacate, and remand; that was the order from the United States Supreme Court on New Jersey’s magazine capacity restriction lawsuit and three other cases. The case, Association New Jersey Rifle, et al v. Attorney General New Jersey, et al., made its way all the way to the high court, with ANJRPC seeking to have a lower court’s decision reversed. N.J. Attorney General Matt Platkin recently announced he’s a co-leader on an amicus brief coalition, in support of California’s nearly identical magazine capacity restrictions.


The GVRs were SCOTUS’ signal to the lower court that they needed to do a do-over. In short, that means it’s in their opinion the lower courts erred and they must look at the cases through the lens of NYSRPA v. Bruen

The case that Platkin is sticking his nose into is Duncan v. Bonta, a suit out of California dealing with similar magazine capacity restrictions. Duncan v. Bonta was one of the GVRed cases, signifying lower court needs to take a mulligan on their past ruling.

It’s as clear as day to most people who can read plain English. If the high court said that N.J.’s magazine capacity case needed a do-over and Calif.’s case needed a do-over, how can there be any arguments? What’s Platikin thinking about these types of restrictions to liberty and how can he – or anyone for that matter – justify trying to defend such policies?

“States have the constitutional right to enact common-sense gun restrictions to protect the public,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Large-capacity magazines are best understood as accessories to firearms and were designed for military use to hold as many bullets as possible. These devices are commonly used in mass shooting incidents across the United States—not for self-defense.”

The brief outlines how California’s law is consistent with past history and aligns with the Second Amendment:

  • To encourage public safety, states can and do impose restrictions on dangerous weapons, accessories, and ammunition that pose a threat to communities: States have widely adopted reasonable restrictions on the public carry, possession, and sale of many types of weapons, accessories, and forms of ammunition that are not suitable for self-defense and undermine the public’s safety. These restrictions are intended to reduce injuries and deaths, while leaving many other options available for individuals who wish to exercise the core Second Amendment right to self-defense.
  • LCMs are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are not “arms,” and they are not commonly used or suitable for self-defense: The Second Amendment protects only firearms that are commonly used or suitable for self-defense. LCMs are neither. Instead, they cause an increase in the number and severity of injuries as well as more deaths when used in mass shootings and other forms of gun violence.
  • California’s law is consistent with a historical tradition of regulating and imposing restrictions on new and distinctively dangerous forms of weaponry: Historical gunpowder storage laws and other rules and regulations were explicitly intended to prevent threats to public safety by limiting the aggregation of arsenals far beyond what would be sufficient for self-defense. Many state and federal laws throughout American history have also regulated specific dangerous weapons or accessories used for criminal and other violent purposes, such as machine guns or short-barreled shotguns.

I have to apologize here for repeating myself, but everything that Platkin,, needs to know about the capacity restrictions is directly linked to the subtext of the GVR. That subtext is that the lower courts got it wrong. That and they know that magazines would be considered protected via good faith applications of NYSRPA v. Bruen.

Beyond that, Platkin has a full plate to work around, especially since arguments in a case including the former Attorney General of New Jersey go against the anti-gun cabal. In a civil case against a dealer caught up in a sting put on by the Garden State, the complaint has some interesting definitions in it.

To prevent gun violence, and to mitigate the risk of mass shootings, the State of New Jersey (“New. Jersey”) has long banned possession of large capacity ammunition magazines (“LCMs”) — firearm magazines capable of holding more than the standard number of rounds provided by the manufacturer. [emphasis added]

In the brief, which was written by then-Deputy Attorney General Isabella R. Pitt, there’s the concession that by virtue of what she’s said, any magazine that comes with a firearm cannot be considered a “large capacity magazine.” As such, firearms that come with say 12, 15, 17, or even 30-round capacity magazines are standard capacity.


When it’s convenient for the state of New Jersey, they will make arguments that lovers of liberty would. It’s obvious they’re fluid on the topic and many magazines that the state of New Jersey, and the state of California, have determined to be “large capacity,” can also be identified as “standard capacity,” at least when New Jersey wants to relabel them. 

Attorney General Platkin is dead wrong in his arguments and we know he’s just “doing his job.” Governor Phil Murphy is driving the bus here. What the Governor needs to realize is that all this opposition, especially in defending N.J.’s ban on magazines with a capacity larger than 10 rounds, will just lead to more days in court that Platikin will be falling asleep during – just like he fell asleep on October 25th in Philadelphia during the oral arguments for a preliminary injunction against the carry-killer legislation.

We can go round and round on arguments, but there’s no point. We know what the progressives are up to. They’re stalling and fighting. Platkin and his ilk are acting the same exact way their fellow Democratic executives and legislators did in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education back in the 1950s.

These cases should have been settled handily and expeditiously after last year’s orders from SCOTUS. If you’re being told by your boss or your teacher, “You got it wrong,” you don’t sit on your hands. You take care of the issue as quickly and neatly as possible. Maybe the lower courts and our so-called leadership will get the hint by SCOTUS recently demanding some answers in a case out of Illinois? It’s not likely, but hey, you never know. As always, we’ll be watching the progress of all of these cases and reporting back with the latest news.


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