Attorney General James defends ban against large-capacity magazines

FIKISWA TSABEDZE | 7/25/2019, 11:39 a.m.
Joining a group of 17 Attorneys General across the nation, New York State Attorney General Letitia James defends California’s ban ...
Letitia James Contributed

Joining a group of 17 Attorneys General across the nation, New York State Attorney General Letitia James defends California’s ban on large-capacity magazines (LCM) holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

In an amicus brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Attorneys General argue that states have the right to enact reasonable firearm restrictions that protect public safety and reduce the prevalence and lethality of gun violence.

James and the other Attorneys General filed the amicus brief in Duncan v. Becerra, a lawsuit challenging California’s prohibition on large-capacity magazines. The lawsuit was filed by a group of gun owners and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, a state affiliate of the National Rifle Association (NRA), after the passage of California’s Proposition 63 in 2016.

“Large-capacity magazines threaten our communities and have no place in our stores, on our streets, or in our homes,” said Attorney General Letitia James in a press release published on June 23. “These rapid-fire bullet delivery systems not only endanger the safety and well-being of New Yorkers, but all Americans, which is why we remain committed to upholding California’s longstanding, constitutional laws. We must never stop fighting to safeguard our communities from senseless, preventable gun violence.”

In 2000, the State of California prohibited the manufacture, importation, and sale of large-capacity magazines. In order to improve enforcement efforts and to further stem the proliferation of large-capacity magazines in the state, in 2016 both the California legislature and the California electorate took it a step further by banning the possession of LCMs that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Nine other states — including New York — and the District of Columbia have also enacted laws banning large-capacity magazines. The constitutionality of those laws have been unanimously upheld by federal courts of appeals.

The report continues to mention that in April 2019, a lower court struck down California’s prohibition on large-capacity magazines in total. California has appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit and the ruling is currently stayed. In the amicus brief, the states collectively argue that a ban on large-capacity magazines is a reasonable restriction that California has the right to adopt because the Second Amendment does not prevent states from enacting common-sense gun safety measures, states have a responsibility to prevent gun violence and protect public safety, and regulating large-capacity magazines protects the public.

Joining Attorney General James in filing the amicus brief were the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.