A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday to uphold the California ban on large-scale ammunition stores in a ruling that should lead to court approval of the state’s ban on assault weapons.
In a bench ruling, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-3 that a state law that limits the size of magazines that can be used with firearms does not interfere with significantly with the right to self-defense. The court noted that there was no evidence that a person was unable to defend a home due to a lack of high capacity magazines.
Over the past 50 years, the court said, large capacity magazines have been used in about three-quarters of mass shootings that have left 10 or more dead, and in 100 percent of killings with 20 or more dead.
“The ban on legal possession of high-capacity magazines reasonably supports California’s efforts to reduce the devastating damage caused by mass shootings,” Clinton-appointed judge Susan P. Graber wrote for the court.
Two other gun control cases have been stayed pending a decision in the magazine’s case. Tuesday’s ruling says California’s ban on assault weapons, which a lower court had overturned, is also likely to be declared constitutional.
US District Judge Roger T. Benitez has overturned both the magazine ban and the ban on assault weapons. In the assault weapons case, Benitez compared an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to a Swiss army knife and called it “good for both home and battle”.
Benitez, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said the ban on assault weapons unconstitutionally violates the rights of gun owners in California and “has had no effect” on reducing mass shootings.
California’s ban on large capacity magazines affects those that can hold more than 10 rounds.