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9th Circuit upholds state large-capacity magazine ban

A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the decision of a lower court judge who invalidated California’s ban on possession of large-capacity magazines for firearms.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Attorney General Rob Bonta were among those who applauded the 7-4 decision by an en banc panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the ban, which state voters passed via Proposition 63 in 2016.

In the majority decision by the 11-judge panel, the court said the ban on the large-capacity magazines “reasonably supports California’s effort to reduce the devastating damage wrought by mass shootings.”

A dissenting opinion by Judge Lawrence VanDyke alleged that “the majority of our court distrusts gun owners,” compared the large-capacity magazine ban to a hypothetical ban on cars because of drunk driving and other misdeeds by drivers, and encouraged the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez from San Diego had earlier granted summary judgment to plaintiffs who had sought to overturn the state law on Second Amendment grounds. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit had upheld that ruling, but in February, the full court voted to rehear the appeal with a larger “en banc” panel.

Newsom wrote on Twitter following Tuesday’s decision, saying:

“Weapons of war don’t belong on our streets. This is a huge victory for the health and safety of all Californians.”

Bonta said:

“I’m thankful to the Court for giving this case a second look, and confirming what we know to be true: our laws keep Californians safe while allowing law-abiding gun owners to exercise their constitutional rights.”

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