A federal district court judge in California has placed a preliminary injunction on the Golden State’s law allowing authorities to confiscate gun magazines exceeding 10 rounds of ammunition.
The case involved Proposition 63, a gun control initiative that passed via referendum in November of 2016.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez agreed that the law likely violated the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.
“The Court does not lightly enjoin a state statute, even on a preliminary basis,” Benitez wrote, according to The Daily Caller.
“However, just as the Court is mindful that a majority of California voters approved Proposition 63 and that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting the public from gun violence, it is equally mindful that the Constitution is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.”
The state, he said, “must provide more than a rational basis to justify its sweeping ban on mere possession.”
“So what is the evidence? The Attorney General has provided expert declarations and 3,100 pages of exhibits. Much of the evidence submitted is dated. Approximately 75% of the exhibits the Attorney General has submitted are older than 2013. The documents that are more recent include various surveys of shooting incidents, news articles, position pieces, and firearm descriptions. The amalgamation of exhibits often seems irrelevant.”
Much of the ruling was based on the landmark 2008 Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld an individual’s right to own a handgun under the Second Amendment. Heller states that “a law that implicates the core of the Second Amendment right and severely burdens that right warrants strict scrutiny.” Benitez said that the California bill placed “more than a slight burden” on California gun owners.
“If this injunction does not issue, 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,” the ruling read. “That is a choice they should not have to make. Not on this record.”
That’s a pretty shocking ruling, given how liberal California is. Needless to say, California liberals were pretty piqued that Benitez took a stand for gun owners.
“Proposition 63 was overwhelmingly approved by voters to increase public safety and enhance security in a sensible and constitutional way,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
“Restricting large capacity magazines and preventing them from ending up in the wrong hands is critical for the well-being of our communities. I will defend the will of California voters because we cannot continue to lose innocent lives due to gun violence.”
Apparently, Becerra didn’t read that part about the “tyranny of the majority” or how irrelevant the state’s evidence was. Oh well. We’ll see how well that argument plays as this case works its way up the ladder of the appeals courts.
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