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Law & the Courts

Federal Appeals Court Rules California’s Ban on High-Capacity Magazines Unconstitutional

(Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

A federal appeals court on Friday overturned California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, ruling that the prohibition violates the Second Amendment.

“Even well-intentioned laws must pass constitutional muster,” Appellate Judge Kenneth Lee wrote for the majority on the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, adding that California’s ban “strikes at the core of the Second Amendment — the right to armed self-defense.”

California’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets is “so sweeping that half of all magazines in America are now unlawful to own in California,” Lee wrote.

One of the judges on the panel dissented, leaving a majority of two who voted to throw out the ban, which Lee wrote was passed “in the wake of heart-wrenching and highly publicized mass shootings.”

Gun rights groups celebrated the ruling. California Rifle & Pistol Association attorney Chuck Michel hailed the decision as “a huge victory” for Americans who own firearms “and the right to choose to own a firearm to defend your family.”

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