California cannot ban gun owners from having detachable magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, a federal judge ruled Friday.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez is likely not the final decision in this case. Benitez said his ruling will not take effect for 10 days, giving state Attorney General Rob Bonta enough time to appeal the decision.
This is the second time Benitez has struck down California’s law banning high-capacity magazines. The first time he struck it down—way back in 2017—an appeals court ended up reversing his decision.
But last year, the U.S. Supreme Court set a new standard for how to interpret the nation’s gun laws. The new standard relies more on the historical tradition of gun regulation rather than public interests, including safety.
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be heard again in light of the new standards. It’s one of three high-profile challenges to California gun laws that are getting new hearings in court. The other two cases challenge California laws banning assault-style weapons and limiting purchases of ammunition.
Benitez ruled that “there is no American tradition of limiting ammunition capacity.” He said detachable magazines “solved a problem with historic firearms: running out of ammunition and having to slowly reload a gun.”
“There have been, and there will be, times where many more than 10 rounds are needed to stop attackers,” Benitez wrote. “Yet, under this statute, the State says ‘too bad.’”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta argued magazines larger than 10 rounds “are not necessary or even suitable to engage in private self-defense.”
Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, praised Benitez for a “thoughtful and in-depth approach.”
“Sure, the state will appeal, but the clock is ticking on laws that violate the Constitution,” Michel said.