Half of State Attorneys General Speak Out Against California Ban

posted on January 7, 2024
Photo: NRA

Twenty-five state attorneys general, co-led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R) and Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador (R), have filed an amicus brief to speak out against California’s unconstitutional law banning magazines that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Knudsen noted in his release announcing the filing of the brief that it was intended to “safeguard law-abiding individuals’ right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense against unnecessary intrusion.” The release added, “In this case, that unnecessary intrusion is a California law banning firearm magazines that can hold more than ten rounds.”

“The district court properly concluded that California’s law unconstitutionally restricts the fundamental right to keep and bear common firearm magazines typically possessed for lawful purposes,” the attorneys general state in the brief. “This Court should follow the Supreme Court’s mandate from HellerMcDonald, and Bruen by affirming the district court based on the text, history and tradition associated with the Second Amendment and magazines with a capacity over ten rounds.”

California currently bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez called the law “clearly constitutional,” but California has appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit and is seeking to have Judge Benitez’s decision reversed.

“The State denies a citizen the federal constitutional right to use common weapons of their own choosing for self-defense,” wrote Benitez. “There have been, and there will be, times where many more than 10 rounds are needed to stop attackers. Yet, under this statute, the State says, ‘too bad.’”

Benitez also said, “It says, if you think you need more than 10 chances to defend yourself against criminal attackers, you must carry more magazines. Or carry more bullets to hand reload and fumble into your small magazine while the attackers take advantage of your pause. On the other hand, you can become a criminal, too.”

Following the ruling, California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) filed an appeal, which sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit.  The case originated in 2017 as Duncan v Becerra (Becerra was Cal. AG at the time), and has already been to the Ninth Circuit, and was at one point being considered for a hearing before the United States Supreme Court.  After the landmark ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which established a new paradigm for considering legal questions related to the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit for a new review under the Bruen standard.  The Ninth Circuit, in turn, sent the case back to the district court, which resulted in the ruling by Judge Benitez.

In addition to Knudsen and Labrador, the amicus brief filed in support of the Benitez decision includes attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Knudsen has previously helped guide similar efforts in support of Americans’ constitutional rights. Last year, he co-led a coalition of 26 attorneys general, along with the Arizona State Legislature, against the Biden administration’s blatantly unconstitutional attack on law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

And in an interview with America’s 1st Freedom Editor in Chief Frank Miniter, Knudsen explained why the NRA’s First Amendment case NRA v. Vullo is so crucial.

“Government should not be able to come in and act like the mafia,” said Knudsen in the interview. “And that’s really what this was. I mean you had Maria Vullo come in and act like a mobster and basically threaten companies for doing business with the NRA, and it wasn’t overt … . She never made any direct threats, but it was like a Tony Soprano situation. You know, ‘boy, that’s a nice business you have. It would be an awful shame if anything were to happen to it!’”


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