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Appeals court rules against California’s ban on large-capacity magazines

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Aug. 15 (UPI) — A federal appeals court has ruled against California’s ban on large-capacity magazines, affirming a lower court’s decision three years ago that the ban violates the Second Amendment.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Friday against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The majority found that “LCMs are commonly owned and typically used for lawful purposes,” protected under the Second Amendment. The court said they’re not “dangerous and unusual” firearms, which wouldn’t be protected under the Second Amendment.

“Armed self-defense is a fundamental right rooted in tradition and the text of the Second Amendment,” Judge Kenneth Lee wrote in the opinion for the majority, which also included Judge Consuelo Callahan.

Judge Barbara Lynn dissented.

“The difference between using handgun versus a rifle for self-defense, for example, is much more significant than the difference between using a magazine that holds eleven rounds versus a magazine that holds ten rounds,” Lynn said in her dissent. “For this reason, the prohibition on LCMs is more analogous to a restriction on how someone exercises their Second Amendment rights, by restricting the number of bullets a person may shoot from one firearm without reloading.”

The ruling is a victory for large-capacity magazine gun owners, and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which sued Becerra in 2017 with the National Rifle Association’s support two months before legislation prohibiting the possession of such guns went into effect.

California lawmakers passed the ban in 2016 to prevent mass shootings and voters supported it in a statewide referendum after a married couple fatally shot 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino in 2015.

The California ban remains partially in effect until the district court issues a new order lifting the stay, the Firearms Policy Coalition noted.

Becerra’s office could appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court.

“We are carefully reviewing the decision, with the goal of protecting public safety,” Becerra’s office said in a statement. “The attorney general remains committed to using every tool possible to defend California’s gun safety laws and keep our communities safe.”

The California Rifle & Pistol Association praised the decision as a “major victory,” in its own statement.

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