Californians have walked down gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, but the courts are drawing a line.
In the latest round, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an order blocking a voter-approved ban on the high-capacity magazines. It puts part of Proposition 63 on hold pending a trial in Duncan v. Becerra.
For gun owners, it was bad enough when California outlawed the sale of the devices in 2000. But Prop. 63 would have made people who already bought the magazines surrender them or go to jail.
Right before the law would have gone into effect last year, Judge Roger Benitez blocked the measure. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra petitioned the Ninth Circuit for review.
Becerra said the trial judge abused his discretion in granting the injunction in favor of the plaintiffs, Virginia Duncan and the California Rifle & Pistol Association. But the appeals panel said the judge made no mistake.
"The district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that magazines for a weapon likely fall within the scope of the Second Amendment," the appeals court said.
In a mild rebuke, the Ninth Circuit said Becerra "articulates no actual error made by the district court, but, rather, multiple instances where it disagrees with the district court's conclusion or analysis regarding certain pieces of evidence."
The state Department of Justice told Courthouse News that it is reviewing the ruling and will "vigorously defend" the challenged law.
Anticipating the battle ahead, the plaintiffs said California will appeal now or later. Ultimately, they said it will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"But by that time, the Supreme Court will likely have a new justice who respects the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment," the gun owners group said.