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Cal. Pen. Code § 32310, which prohibits possession of large-capacity magazines (defined as those that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition), does not violate the Second Amendment or the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause

California

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USA

California’s Prohibition of Large Capacity Magazines is Constitutional In Duncan v. Bonta, 19-55376 (9th Cir. Nov. 30, 2021), the plaintiffs argued that Cal. Pen. Code § 32310, which prohibits possession of large capacity magazines, defined as those that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition, violated the Second Amendment and the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Intermediate Scrutiny Applied The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that intermediate scrutiny applied to determine whether the law violated the Second Amendment because the ban was only a minimal burden on the right to keep and bear arms. To satisfy intermediate scrutiny, the government’s objective in enacting the law must be significant, substantial, or important, and there must be a reasonable fit between the challenged law and that objective, but the law need not be the least restrictive means of accomplishing that objective. The Law was a Reasonable Fit for the Important Government Objective of Reducing the Harm Caused by Mass Shootings The Court found that the legislature enacted the ban on large-capacity magazines to prevent and mitigate gun violence primarily by reducing the harm caused by mass shootings and that this was an important governmental objective. The Court noted that many mass shootings involve large-capacity magazines and that three-quarters of mass shooters possessed their weapons, and their large-capacity magazines, lawfully. Thus, the Court held that Cal. Pen. Code § 32310 was a reasonable fit for reducing the harm caused by mass shootings because it removed the ability of potential mass shooters to possess large-capacity magazines legally. The Law was Not a Facial Taking or a Physical Taking The plaintiffs brought a facial takings claim and thus were required to show that the mere enactment of the law constituted a taking. The Court found that the plaintiffs failed to introduce evidence of the economic impact of the regulation on the investment-backed expectations of any owner of a large-capacity magazine. Additionally, the law was not a physical taking because the owner of a large-capacity magazine could still use the magazine by modifying it to comply with the law, by moving it out of state, or by selling it. Disposition The Court held that Cal. Pen. Code § 32310 did not violate the Second Amendment and did not violate the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. The Court reversed the district court’s summary judgment and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the defendant.

April 14, 2022
Duncan v. Bonta, 19-55376 (9th Cir. Nov. 30, 2021)
Federal Courts (9th Circuit)