In a rare conservative victory, a California judge struck down a state ban on gun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, deeming it “clearly unconstitutional.”
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego said the state’s “sweeping ban” of the detachable magazines—sometimes referred to as high-capacity magazines—violates the Second Amendment rights of firearms owners because it bars people from using such magazines for lawful reasons, including self-defense.
“This case is about a California state law that makes it a crime to keep and bear common firearm magazines typically possessed for lawful purposes,” Judge Benitez, a nominee of President George W. Bush, wrote in a 71-page decision filed on Sept. 22. “Based on the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment, this law is clearly unconstitutional.”
“The history and tradition of the Second Amendment clearly supports state laws against the use or misuse of firearms with unlawful intent, but not the disarmament of the law-abiding citizen,” the judge wrote.
Gun Control in California
The San Diego case is one of three high-profile challenges to California gun laws that are getting new hearings in court. The other two cases challenge California laws banning assault-style weapons and limiting purchases of ammunition.
The cases come amidst Governor Gavin Newsom’s push to draft a 28th Amendment that would constitutionally restrict gun ownership. The new rule would ban assault rifles to civilians.
In his decision, Judge Benitez laid out the rationale for civilians owning guns with detachable magazines.
“There have been, and there will be, times where many more than 10 rounds are needed to stop attackers.”
He continued to outline why such guns may be needed and how many Americans own such guns.
“When more ammunition is needed in case of confrontation, a larger the magazine is required. Many gun owners want to have ready more than 10 rounds in their guns. As a result, in the realm of firearms, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are possibly the most commonly owned thing in America. These larger magazines number over one hundred million. For handguns, the most popular sizes range up to 17 rounds; the most popular size for rifles is 30 rounds. Yet, regardless of the overwhelming popularity of larger magazines, California continues to prohibit any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds.”
Benitez also wrote, “Why are larger magazines chosen for self-defense? Crime happens a lot.”
You can say that again. Especially today and especially in California.
Crime Climbs in California
Newsom calls guns an “existential crisis.”
I’d argue the lawlessness and rampant crime is the real crisis plaguing California. Smash and grab robberies have become routine in the past year.
The number of reported violent crimes in California surged from 173,864 in 2020 to 193,019 in 2022, whilst property crimes rose from 851,171 to 902,977 during the same time period.
Meanwhile, in Newsom’s backyard, Oakland, CA, the eighth most populated city in the Golden State, the devastating crime is so bad that 200 businesses are planning to strike to protest the out of control crime and failed government response.
Dan Thorn, a San Francisco reporter, posted a photo of a local restaurant that had been hit by burglars for the third time in one year on X. “This is what failed leadership, lack of policing and prosecution look like,” the owner stated.
Small restaurants aren’t the only businesses shutting down. Large retail giants are fleeing San Francisco due to heavy crime. Old Navy, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Amazon, Office Depot, and several others have closed stores in the downtown area in the past year.
Newsom Fires Back
Not surprisingly, Governor Newsom called Benitez’s ruling “a radical decision.”
“Judge Benitez is not even pretending anymore. This is politics, pure and simple,” Mr. Newsom said. “It’s time to wake up. Unless we enshrine a Right to Safety in the Constitution, we are at the mercy of ideologues like Judge Benitez.”
What’s more radical than Benitez’s decision is the decline in California. In a matter of years, Gavin Newsom has managed to turn a thriving and beautiful place to live into an unaffordable and unsafe disaster.
If Americans don’t wise up, he could lead our country to the same demise.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
From the Vault