It was a strange and wonderful week here in the People’s Republik of Kalifornistan. For a very short period of time, ordinary law abiding citizens in the state were able to legally purchase standard capacity magazines. Following a federal court ruling that the entire section of law covering the manufacturing, import, sale and possession of so-called “large capacity magazines” was unconstitutional, Californians up and down the state took advantage of the opportunity and stocked up on magazines. But the celebration was short lived. While possession is still legal, sales are no longer allowed. Now it’s the state’s turn and there will be hell to pay.
In U.S District Judge Roger Benitez’s summary judgment, he declared California Penal Code 32310 unconstitutional and enjoined enforcement of the law. This section of the Penal Code outlaws everything from the manufacture, sale, import, borrowing, etc. to the simple possession of any magazine capable of holding more then 10 rounds.
The ruling itself was masterfully and elegantly worded and thoroughly debunked the State’s supposed evidence of a public safety interest in denying standard capacity magazines to law-abiding citizens in the state. He declared that standard capacity magazines were in fact protected as arms in the context of the Second Amendment. Something most of us already understood.
The net result was that Judge Benitez’s ruling once again made it legal to purchase and possess standard capacity magazines in California. Immediately after the Friday ruling, the more constitutionally inclined retailers began offering these magazines for sale. Others decided to wait a few more days to see what the state’s response would be and for the lawyers to chime in. By the first of the week, retailers up and down California began to digest the ruling and began selling. Out of state retailers, including the biggest names in online and brick & mortar stores also lifted their restrictions on selling standard capacity magazines to California residents.
Long lines formed at California gun shops and additional shipments from distributers were rushed in. Online retailer’s inventories from across the country were quickly cleaned out of just about every make and style of magazine. The most conservative estimates I’ve seen to date indicate that hundreds of thousands of California residents purchased a minimum of one to two MILLION standard capacity magazines.
Of course, the State of California wasn’t going to sit by and let this happen. They demanded a stay of the ruling from Judge Benitez, which was granted by the end of the week. However, it wasn’t exactly the result the State wanted. While Judge Benitez stayed the first two sections of Penal Code 32310 (manufacturing and selling), he left in place the judgment against possession. Judge Benitez also specifically protected those who had sold, imported and purchased during this brief window of legality.
Both of Judge Benitez’s rulings are a significant victory for California residents. His logic was well thought out and tied to not only the Second Amendment, but to the realities of self-defense and crime in the current day. If you haven’t read it – yes, I understand it is 86 pages long – I strongly suggest you do. The link is at the bottom of this article. Reading this will help you to understand not only the flaws in the gun control zealots logic used to justify these infringements, but in your own rights.
This is an excellent and important ruling, but it is not the final word on the topic. The State of California is not simply going to accept this ruling and go away. Magazine capacity is the cornerstone of modern gun control and if it fails, it will have significant ripple effects in California and around the country.
This ruling is already being appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – also known as the Nutty Ninth. As we all know, the Ninth Circuit is no friend of the Second Amendment and has already ruled against just about every gun rights appeal, even if it violates the Constitution, Second Amendment or the precedents set in Heller and McDonald. We can absolutely count on a reversal from the Ninth Circuit, which will need to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
So while we’re all enjoying this little victory as the lawyers are ramping up to fight the pre-destined loss in the Ninth Circuit and appeal to the Supreme Court, I’d like to point out something. Why are we in this position in the first place?
If even the extremely low estimates of several hundred thousand magazine purchasers are true, where the HELL where these people when Prop 63 was being voted on? Where the HELL where these people during the Veto Gunmageddon petition drive to put repeal questions on the ballet for these insane, do-nothing but take rights away from law-abiding citizens laws? Where the HELL where all of these people when candidates were running against the gun control zealot politicians? If everyone was so willing to run down to their local gun shop or hop online and order magazines for themselves, why didn’t this same mass of people get involved and stop the local, state and federal gun control zealots from passing the laws in the first place?
I’ll say what I’ve said before. Fighting to get your rights back after they have been lost is a fool’s errand at best. At BEST you have a long and expensive legal battle with very little chance of actually succeeding, no matter how egregious the constitutional or legal issues are.
Law-abiding Californians caught a huge break with Judge Benitez, but it could have very easily gone the other way. Meanwhile we have a Ninth Circuit with a well-documented history of reversing anything to do with Second Amendment rights. Our hope now lay with the Supreme Court, which may or may not even accept it.
We can also count on a vindictive People’s Republik of Kalifornistan to work on ways to punish every one of us who enjoyed this brief window of freedom and invent new and ingenious ways of eliminating our Second Amendment rights once again.
In other words – it’s time for everyone to get off their asses and start fighting to keep our rights.
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