Hold Your Horses on the California Mag Ban Lift

While the Second Amendment community (which should include the entire country, but that’s another story) applauds the verdict handed down from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, California residents shouldn't be too quick to start ordering standard-capacity magazines. The ruling, which called the 10-round magazine restriction unconstitutional, saying it violated the Second Amendment, is not officially part of California state law yet. Here’s why.

While the pro-2A verdict of Duncan vs. Becerra certainly seems to clear the way for the law to change, the court did not issue a mandate, which means the state of California still has some legal cards left to play. Instead, Judge Benitez issued a stay, which simply means that the magazine ban is basically on hold pending final order or appeal of the case. What route could that case take from here?

The state can appeal to have the Ninth Circuit  hear the case en banc. The original case was heard by a three-judge panel, which is standard. The state can ask for an en banc review, where 11 judges will hear the case. If the en banc review upholds the decision of the three-judge panel, the state could then appeal to the United States Supreme Court. (In reality, no matter which way the en banc decision goes, this case will be appealed to SCOTUS.) 

What impact might this have across the board? This could turn into a landmark case, especially if the Supreme Court weighs in, because similar laws in other states and cities - such as New Jersey’s carry restrictions and Chicago’s magazine limit - could be overturned.

Whether the Supreme Court will hear the case is anyone’s guess. The Court recently rejected ten gun rights cases that could have turned the tables on Second Amendment restrictions in key states and cities.

While it might be tempting to order standard capacity magazines for your pistols and ARs, take a breath and wait for the case to play itself out. Sorry, California. Here’s to hoping one day you can exercise your Second Amendment rights like the folks in flyover country. Your day may come soon. ~David

David Workman
David is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. In addition to being an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and RSO, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. "Real life shootouts don't happen at a box range."