This week California is making headlines with laws -- enacted and proposed -- that affect gun rights, and the rights of juveniles. A Sunnyvale municipal law banning large-capacity magazines reaches the highest court of the land, while another proposed law would require juveniles to be tried as adults.
Sunnyvale's Controversial Gun Law
Last November, the voters of the City of Sunnyvale passed Measure C, a law that among other things, bans large-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. A group of Sunnyvale gun owners affected by the new law challenged Sunnyvale, California Municipal Code § 9.44.050, in federal district court, seeking an order for a preliminary injunction blocking its enforcement.
The district court denied the motion, finding that "The right to possess magazines having a capacity to accept more than ten rounds lies on the periphery of the Second Amendment right, and proscribing such magazines is, at bare minimum, substantially related to an important government interest." The plaintiffs made an emergency appeal to the Ninth Circuit for an injunction pending appeal, which the Ninth Circuit denied.
The plaintiffs then appealed to the Supreme Court, and Justice Kennedy, Circuit Justice for the Ninth Circuit, ordered the City of Sunnyvale to respond by Wednesday. Justice Kennedy denied the gun owners' motion for emergency application for injunction pending appeal on Wednesday afternoon, reports SCOTUSblog. The motion was denied in an order with no explanation.
This case is one to watch because if the law is found to survive Constitutional attack, then other municipalities will follow the lead of Sunnyvale, as cities may be more successful at enacting gun laws than states.
Audrie's Law Proposed
Last Friday, the mother of Audrie Pott, along with state Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, introduced Audrie's Law, named after Audrie Pott, a Saratoga teen who killed herself after she was sexually assaulted while passed out, and photos of her were distributed electronically. Under current laws, juveniles may be automatically tried as adults in rape cases where the victim fights back, but not where the victim -- as in the case of Audrie -- is incapacitated, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Audrie's Law would allow law enforcement authorities to prosecute juveniles as adults in sexual assault cases, where the victims are "drunk, mentally, developmentally or physically disabled or otherwise unable to defend themselves," and would also criminalize cyberbullying, where one "share[s] sexual pictures of a minor electronically," reports the Chronicle.
The proposed law is not without detractors; Director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Dan Macallair stated, "I think this is another bad piece of legislation driven by a single, tragic event." We'll see if state legislators agree.
- Our Dear Sunnyvale Becomes the Next Big Gun Control Battleground (FindLaw's California Case Law Blog)
- Two Lawsuits Filed Against Sunnyvale's Gun Ordinance (FindLaw's California Case Law Blog)
- Audrie Pott's Family Filing Wrongful Death Suit (FindLaw's Injured)