Magazine bans are a favorite cause of the left. It’s convinced that if you can only have so many rounds, bad people will suddenly become good and noble creatures. Alright, maybe not quite that, but they do think that a magazine ban will somehow have an impact on crime.
As such, they altered New Jersey’s magazine restrictions, lowering the limit from 15 rounds down to just 10.
Just in case gun owners needed another reason to back Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court or to get energized ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey gave us one. On September 28, District Judge Peter G. Sheridan denied a motion for a preliminary injunction that would have enjoined enforcement of New Jersey’s 10-round magazine capacity limit.
In his decision, Sheridan conceded that magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds are in “common use” and thus entitled to Second Amendment protection. However, Sheridan then proceeded, as other courts have done, to apply an infinitely malleable interest-balancing test standard to determine whether New Jersey’s infringement on the Second Amendment right is permissible.
In this vein, Sheridan concluded that the Garden State’s magazine ban should be subject to intermediate scrutiny, meaning that the policy must further an important government interest by a method substantially related to the interest. The court, acting as policy analyst, rejected testimony refuting the efficacy of magazine bans and adopted the state’s purported concerns over the criminal use of these items.
The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs has made clear that they intend to appeal the decision.
Ironically, Sheridan may have done some of a future Supreme Court’s analysis on magazine bans for them. In his decision, the judge stated, “[m]uch of the legal history and tradition of [large capacity magazine] restrictions in the United States is relatively recent and evolving.”In his District of Columbia v. Heller opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia did not set forth an interest-balancing test for Second Amendment cases. Instead, Scalia noted that only some “longstanding”firearms restrictions were acceptable.
The real test will be whether the Supreme Court will even hear the case.
The Court hasn’t heard a Second Amendment case since McDonald, and there have been plenty worth its hearing. One concern was that Justice Kennedy, who sided with the majority on Heller and McDonald, had no interest in hearing another Second Amendment case, so he voted with the more liberal justices. I don’t know whether that’s the case or not, but it was certainly a possibility.
But with Kavanaugh on the Court, things would change from that potential status quo. At least theoretically.
If so, then the New Jersey magazine ban may appear before the Court and, based on who is on it right now, be struck down. This would be a huge win for the Second Amendment since a properly-written decision would also eliminate magazine restrictions throughout the nation.
However, it’s also interesting to note how different Sheridan’s decision is from the precedent set in Heller. It’s clear that activist judges like Sheridan aren’t using legal precedent in reaching their decisions, but are hiding their feelings-driven opinions behind legalese.