Second Amendment supporters in California scored an enormous win over gun-grabbing Sacramento this week when U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez ruled that a new law banning high-capacity gun magazines was “unconstitutional in its entirety.” The ruling, delivered on Friday, will forbid California Attorney General Xavier Becerra from enforcing the 2016 prohibition on magazines holding more than 10 bullets.
“Individual liberty and freedom,” said Judge Benitez, “are not outmoded concepts. This decision is a freedom calculus decided long ago by Colonists who cherished individual freedom more than the subservient security of a British ruler. The freedom they fought for was not free of cost then, and it is not free now.”
In a statement, the NRA praised the judge for his wise ruling.
“Indeed, he characterized the California law as ‘turning the Constitution upside down,’” said the NRA. “He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.”
Besides relying on the Second Amendment to invalidate the California law, Judge Benitez took issue with the State’s claim that high-capacity magazines served little purpose in a self-defense scenario.
“In one year in California (2017), a population of 39 million people endured 56,609 robberies, 105,391 aggravated assaults, and 95,942 residential burglaries,” said Judge Benitez. “There were also 423 homicides in victims’ residences. There were no mass shootings in 2017.
“Nationally, the first study to assess the prevalence of defensive gun use estimated that there are 2.2 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses by civilians each year,” he continued. “Of those, 340,000 to 400,000 defensive gun uses were situations where defenders believed that they had almost certainly saved a life by using the gun. Citizens often use a gun to defend against criminal attack.”
The State, he ruled, was trying to deprive the citizens of California of the God-given right to appropriate self-defense. Instead, the California law emboldened criminals who had no need to abide by restrictions on magazine size. This left homeowners and assault victims at a distinct disadvantage, even if they had the forethought and training to prepare for such a scenario by purchasing an effective weapon.
“A magazine is an essential mechanical part of a firearm,” said the judge. “The size limit directly impairs one’s ability to defend one’s self. Neither magazines, nor rounds of ammunition, nor triggers, nor barrels are specifically mentioned in the Second Amendment. Neither are they mentioned in Heller. But without a right to keep and bear triggers, or barrels, or ammunition and the magazines that hold ammunition, the Second Amendment right would be meaningless.”
This was an uncharacteristically intelligent ruling, especially for a California judge. If we had more judges like Roger Benitez in our federal judiciary, the future of our constitutional rights would be secure.