A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction Thursday preventing California from enforcing its gun magazine confiscation law.
U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez said that the law, which prohibits the possession of a magazine with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds of ammunition, likely violates the Second Amendment rights of the plaintiffs in the suit. As a result, he ordered the state to immediately cease enforcing the law, pending further legal developments.
“The Court does not lightly enjoin a state statute, even on a preliminary basis,” Benitez said in the ruling. “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.”
Benitez cited the landmark Heller Supreme Court case, a 2008 ruling that protected an individual’s right to own a fire arm unconnected to service in a state militia. He argued that if the law, which passed in November of 2016, was allowed to stand, it would place “more than a slight burden” on gun owning Californians.
“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,” he wrote in the ruling. “That is a choice they should not have to make. Not on this record.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra expressed his disappointment in the ruling in a statement issued Thursday.
“Proposition 63 was overwhelmingly approved by voters to increase public safety and enhance security in a sensible and constitutional way,” Becerra said in a statement on the ruling. “I will defend the will of California voters because we cannot continue to lose innocent lives due to gun violence.”
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