CA Gun Owners Face Tough Decision July 1 Unless a Judge Steps In

Last year, California lawmakers passed a “large capacity” magazine ban, which criminalized even the possession of a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Then, voters passed Proposition 63, the so-called “Safety for All” Act, which had a similar provision. This ban is set to go into effect July 1 – unless a federal judge steps in and grants a preliminary injunction in one of the two cases that have been filed challenging the ban.

It has been illegal to sell large capacity magazines in California since 2000, but it was still legal to possess them. The California Department of Justice estimates that there “are likely hundreds of thousands” of these magazines in the state, but the government expects law-abiding gun owners who have grandfathered magazines to turn them in to law enforcement, sell them to a licensed firearms dealer, or transport them out of state – or face a criminal penalty if they’re caught.

A hearing is scheduled Thursday, June 29, in federal court in Sacramento in the case of Wiese v. Becerra, where Plaintiffs have requested a preliminary injunction. In a case filed in San Diego, Duncan v. Becerra, Plaintiffs have also requested a preliminary injunction, and that judge is expected to rule prior to July 1.

The Second Amendment Foundation is one of the institutional plaintiffs in Wiese. SAF’s founder, Alan Gottlieb, said:

“Enforcement of this ban would immediately place thousands of law-abiding California gun owners in jeopardy of criminal liability and subjects their personal property to forfeiture, seizure and permanent confiscation, which is government taking, without due process or compensation. We cannot allow that to go unchallenged.”

One of the arguments gun control advocates make is that since Proposition 63 passed, it’s the will of the people that these magazines are totally banned. In a press release about the case, though, Firearms Policy Coalition, another institutional plaintiff, reminds people that simply because voters want something or pass something doesn’t make it constitutional:

“California voters once also approved Proposition 8, which made same-sex marriage illegal in California. Proposition 8 was ultimately held to be unconstitutional.”

As we saw earlier this week when the Supreme Court denied cert in Peruta v. California, the Second Amendment is a “disfavored” amendment at this point, and guns and gun parts are the popular eeevil nuisance of the day – so it’s okay for government to ban them, right? FPC’s Brandon Combs cautions:

“It’s as ironic as it is sad, and sets a dangerous precedent that the government can make you into a criminal by changing its mind about what you own. If the State is allowed to enforce this magazine ban scheme, there’s nothing stopping it from doing the same with thousands of other guns, gun parts, or even diesel automobiles.”

Many gun owners have said they aren’t going to comply, and pro-gun Sheriffs (yes, they do exist in California) say that they won’t be looking for them. Let’s hope that one of these federal judges does the right thing and prohibits the state from enforcing this bad law until the lawsuits challenging it have been resolved.