A coalition of firearm advocates, including the National Rifle Association and an affiliate, are filing two suits against the State of California over its ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Calling the law ‘unconstitutional,’ the NRA and its allies plan to argue against legislation which restricts civilian possession of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
“Legislators in California routinely enact laws that only affect the law-abiding and do nothing to enhance public safety,” said the NRA’s executive director of its Institute for Legislative Action, Chris Cox. “This lawsuit, and others that will follow, is an effort to ensure the rights of law-abiding gun owners are respected in California.”
According to The Los Angeles Times, the California Rifle and Pistol Association is also filing a suit against California for another law, which bans semiautomatic rifles with replaceable magazines.
Attorneys are describing the initiative by groups like the NRA and CRPA as “a series of long and carefully planned lawsuits challenging the package of guns bans passed last year that have collectively become known as ‘gunmageddon’ by gun owners.”
Both laws were passed in the last year as a response to the San Bernardino shootings, in which a U.S. citizen and his foreign wife staged an Islamic State-inspired attack against a government building before being killed in a dramatic standoff with law enforcement.
While both complaints were filed separately and at different times, they strike a similar tone that’s often used by critics of gun control – that restrictions on the rights of Americans pose a threat to the Second Amendment and endanger the ability of gun-owners to protect themselves.
“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,” read the CRPA complaint.
Despite the contention, experts contacted by the San Diego Tribune note that laws regulating the possession of certain types of firearm accessories have a history of prevailing in court.
“I think many courts have found these types of regulations to be constitutional,” said Griffin Dix, the co-chair of the Oakland chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “
He purportedly cited several rulings, explaining, “a whole series of ways under the Second Amendment you can regulate firearms, and that would include magazines.”
The California laws separately target high-capacity magazines as well as magazines equipped with ‘bullet buttons,’ which make removing and replacing magazines easier.
The gun laws were passed as a part of California’s November Proposition 63.
The main backer of the laws, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, didn’t mince words when addressing the NRA.
“The people of California have already spoken loudly and they resoundingly rejected the NRA’s deceitful agenda,” he said. “And federal courts have already spoken, in favor of public safety by restricting large capacity magazines.”
Proponents of gun control often cite the destructive capacity of both semiautomatic rifles and large magazines, while critics of laws like California tend to raise the possibility of home-defense scenarios.