NRA hits back in court over California magazine ban

A group of California residents in conjunction with the state’s National Rifle Association affiliate has filed suit in federal court saying the state’s prohibition against “high-capacity magazines” violates their Second Amendment rights.

Five residents, Virginia Duncan, Richard Lewis, Patrick Lovette, David Marguglio, and Christopher Waddell, want magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges to keep in their home for self-defense and other lawful purposes, but can’t due to California’s arbitrary ban. Joining with the California Rifle & Pistol Association, the five filed suit in federal court Wednesday naming California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in his official capacity, as the defendant.

The 22-page filing argues that millions of law-abiding citizens possess firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition and there is nothing unusual about that fact, holding that in many cases some of the most popular guns sold come standard with magazines with a capacity well past that amount and that they are in common use.

“The reason for the popularity of these magazines is straightforward: In a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death,” reads the complaint.

In 2000, California passed a ban on such magazines but still allowed those already in circulation to remain grandfathered. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure making possession of even legacy “pre-ban” magazines illegal.

The plaintiffs argue that banning magazines capable of holding over 10 rounds will have a negligible effect on crime and is “no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles. To the contrary, the only thing the ban ensures is that a criminal unlawfully carrying a firearm with a magazine over 10 rounds will have a (potentially devastating) advantage over his law-abiding victim.”

Long Beach-based attorney Chuck Michel, whose firm is handling the case and others described the Duncan filing to as another in the gun rights group’s “SueAPalooza” campaign to challenge California’s bevy of new gun control laws passed last year, known among the Second Amendment community as “Gunmegeddon.”

The NRA and CRPA has filed Rupp v. Becerra, which seeks to declare California’s assault weapon ban unconstitutional. Additional lawsuits challenging the other “Gunmageddon” changes, including the new ammo laws enacted by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Proposition 63, are currently being prepared and will be filed soon as is a regulatory challenge to new rules proposed this week expanding the definition of an “assault weapon” in the state.

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