The Second Shot: NRA Files Additional Lawsuit Challenging California’s Magazine Ban

Published on May 22, 2017  |  By 2ANews.us 
In Assault Weapons & Large Capacity Magazines, Laws & Legal Challenges, Second Amendment

Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA - Institute for Legislative Action, speaking at the annual meeting of members at the NRA convention, April 11, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (Image: AP - Mark Humphrey)

The NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association filed a second landmark lawsuit with a federal court on Thursday, challenging the state’s high capacity magazine ban.

In a statement released on Thursday, Chris Cox, the executive director for the NRA-ILA, noted the lawsuit is intended to ensure the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Said Cox, “Legislators in California routinely enact laws that only affect the law-abiding and do nothing to enhance public safety.”

Duncan v. Becerra

The lawsuit, Duncan v. Becerra, will directly challenge California’s ban on the possession of standard capacity magazines as a violation the Second Amendment and the due process clause of the United States Constitution.

30-round magazine
30-round rifle magazine (image: Thermold)

The lawsuit is second in a series of planned lawsuits designed to challenge numerous unconstitutional anti-gun acts signed into law last year by California Governor Jerry Brown. The suit was filed with a federal court in the Southern District and names California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State, as the sole named defendant. Provisions within the complaint, however, allow for the addition of other defendants if needed. An earlier complaint was filed on April 26, challenging a host of related second-amendment laws.

Plaintiffs in the complaint include a number of private citizens and the California Rifle & Pistol Association.

The text from Page one of the complaint clearly explains the reason for the lawsuit:

“The reason for the popularity of these magazines is straightforward: In a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death.” – Duncan vs. Becerra Complaint

“Millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. There is nothing unusual or novel about this technology. Indeed, many of the nation’s best-selling handguns and rifles come standard with magazines that can hold more than ten rounds, and firearms equipped with such magazines are safely possessed by law-abiding citizens in the vast majority of states. The reason for the popularity of these magazines is straightforward: In a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death.”

A firearm “magazine” is a device that holds ammunition cartridges or shells, and (along with other parts of the firearm), it feeds the ammunition into the chamber for firing

Although magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds have existed and been in common use for more than a century, California banned their manufacture, sale, import, or transfer effective January 1, 2000.  Last year, the state took the additional and extreme step of banning the mere possession of magazines over ten rounds. Under the revised law, California Penal Code section 32310, owners of such magazines may no longer keep them.

California code 32310 violates multiple U.S. constitutional provisions

Second Amendment violations

California code 32310 violates multiple constitutional provisions. First, it infringes on a citizen’s Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes (District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 624-25 -2008). Because magazines are “in common use . . . for lawful purposes like self-defense,” the prohibition against their possession is unconstitutional.


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Fifth Amendment “Takings Clause” violations

California code 32310 also violates its citizen’s Fifth Amendment rights, referred to as the “Takings Clause”.  By banning the possession of something legally purchased prior to the ban, the state is forcibly “taking” legal property from citizens without just compensation, a violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments “Due Process” violations

Finally, code 32310 violates citizen’s “Due Process” rights outlined within the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Banning magazines over ten rounds is no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles.

To the contrary, the only thing such a ban ensures is that a criminal unlawfully carrying a firearm with a magazine over ten rounds will have an advantage over his law- abiding victim.

Section 32310 raises particularly acute “due process” concerns because it criminalizes something that was legally purchased before the ban, effectively turning a law-abiding citizen into a criminal overnight, without the due process afforded by a hearing.

Lawsuit aligns with President Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition efforts

The lawsuit aligns with President Trump’s efforts to restore gun rights to U.S. citizens that have been infringed for years by liberal democrat leaders such as Governor Brown.

President Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition

On November 3, 2016, Trump launched the “Second Amendment Coalition”. The Second Amendment Coalition is chaired by Donald Trump Jr, and Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. The Coalition includes 62 co-chairs comprised of U.S. Congressmen and gun manufacturers such as Jesse James and Daniel Defense’s Marty Daniel.


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The coalition was formed as an advisory group to aid Trump during the waning days of his presidential candidacy and advises him on second amendment issues. While not a part of the formal Trump administration, the coalition continues, through its members and co-chairs, to support President Trump in his efforts to protect the Second Amendment.

Supporters of President Trump’s efforts to preserve the second amendment may join the Second Amendment Coalition Facebook Group, a group created and administered by private fans of the Coalition in support its mission.

Ready to get involved?
Join the Second Amendment Coalition Facebook Group.


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