A guns and several ammunition magazines pictured at a shooting range
A guns and several ammunition magazines pictured at a shooting range / Stephen Gutowski

Ninth Circuit Stays California Ammunition Magazine Confiscation Pending SCOTUS Challenge

Californians can hold on to their ammo magazines at least a bit longer.

The Ninth Circuit approved a request to stay its decision upholding the state’s confiscation scheme targeting magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. The court agreed to prevent enforcement of the law on Monday while plaintiffs organize an appeal to the Supreme Court. The stay is temporary but will extend indefinitely if the high court takes up the case.

“With this Stay of Mandate granted by the court, it essentially means everything carries on as it has for the past several years,” the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA), one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Those individuals who lawfully own or possess magazines holding more than 10 rounds are allowed to keep them while the case is appealed.”

The stay effectively freezes the law once again and prevents Californians from being prosecuted over possession of the magazines they legally purchased before the confiscation order was passed into law. The plaintiffs face a harder path since a November ruling from the full Ninth Circuit overturned a circuit court and 3-judge panel ruling that found the confiscation scheme unconstitutional. Their only hope is that the Supreme Court will step in on their side and strike down the restriction as a violation of the Second Amendment. A similar case in New Jersey is also pending before the Court, but without the benefit of a stay.

CRPA said the decision to uphold California’s magazine ban “sent shockwaves through the Second Amendment community and showed once again the Ninth Circuit’s bias against the Second Amendment.” The group said it is acting quickly to prepare an appeal.

Attorney General Rob Bonta (D.) called the initial ruling upholding the law a “victory for public safety in California” when it was handed down, but did not oppose the stay.

“Gun violence is an epidemic in this country, but laws like our ban on large-capacity magazines are commonsense ways to prevent this violence, including devastating mass shootings,” he said at the time. “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.”

Chuck Michel, president of CRPA, said the appeal to the highest level is necessary “because gun owners deserve to have someone fighting for them and their rights” after the Ninth Circuit upheld the law. He said California’s law is an abridgment of the right to keep and bear arms.

“The Second Amendment is a fundamental right, and it is time that courts stop treating that right like a second-class gift from government,” he said at the time.

The gun-rights group has 150 days to file the appeal before the stay runs out.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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