California Proposition 63’s provision on large-capacity firearm magazines declared unconstitutional by federal judge

On March 29, 2019, Judge Roger Benitez of the U.S. District Court of Southern California ruled that a provision of Proposition 63 banning large-capacity firearm magazines (more than 10 rounds) was unconstitutional. He wrote, “[Proposition 63] burdens the core of the Second Amendment by criminalizing the acquisition and possession of these magazines that are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for defense of self, home, and state.”
 
Voters approved Proposition 63 in 2016. Before Proposition 63, residents who owned large-capacity magazines before 2000 were allowed to keep them. Proposition 63 was designed to criminalize possession and require owners, including those who possessed large-capacity magazines before 2000, to remove them from the state, sell them to a firearms dealer, or surrender them to law enforcement. The provision was scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2017, but Judge Benitez placed an injunction on the provision on June 29, 2017, pending his final order.
 
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who was lieutenant governor in 2016, was involved in developing Proposition 63. He responded to Judge Benitez’s ruling, saying, “This District Court Judge’s failure to uphold a ban on high-capacity magazines is indefensible, dangerous for our communities and contradicts well-established case law.”
 
If appealed, the case would go before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said his office is “reviewing the decision to evaluate next steps.”
 



About the author

Ryan Byrne

Ryan Byrne is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at ryan.byrne@ballotpedia.org

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