U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

NJ Gun Control Appeal: Large Capacity Magazine Ban Affirmed

Gun control is among the most controversial issues in the country, and New Jersey, taking the lead from other states, enacted a ban on large capacity magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.

Fortunately for the state, both the federal district and appellate courts have agreed that the law does not clearly violate the Second, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment, such that a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the ban would be justified.

Reloading Saves Lives

As the appellate opinion makes clear, reloading saves lives, and smaller capacity ammo magazines mean more reloading time during mass shootings.

The opinion also makes painstakingly clear that the country is headed down a bad path where mass shootings are becoming more and more commonplace and more and more violent. It explains that the number of shootings per year has increased by 160% and that now, multiple mass shootings involving over 10 victims comprise a significant percentage of all mass shootings.

Notably though, the statute does provide an exception for active law enforcement and military, as well as retired law enforcement. Additionally, it provides several different ways for individuals to come into compliance, including modification of the magazine as well as sale, or (potentially) simply registering it.

Armchair Reasoning

While the appellate court came down on the side of the gun control proponents, the large capacity magazine advocates were given a little something to hang their hats on thanks to a dissent by Judge Bibas.

Bibas claimed his colleagues did not properly evaluate the evidence before the court and used "armchair reasoning" to reach their conclusion. He explains that based upon the evidence presented, he would have concluded that the state failed to carry the burden of proof that the statute would accomplish its stated goal.

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