EXCLUSIVE: A coalition of 22 states, led by the Republican attorneys general of Arizona and Louisiana, is urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to again rule against California’s controversial attempt to ban high-capacity magazines, after the court agreed to reconsider its decision to rule it unconstitutional.
"California politicians are at it again, convinced that their agendas should override the Constitutional rights of the people," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, in a statement, announcing the filing of an amicus brief. "Attempts to undermine the Second Amendment or any of our civil rights and liberties should be met with deep skepticism and vigorous opposition."
California passed a ban on magazines of 10 bullets or more in 2016. A ruling by a federal judge that it was unconstitutional was upheld by a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit last year. In February, the court agreed to have an 11-judge panel rehear the case.
"Large-capacity magazines have been used in many horrific mass shootings around the country, including right here in California," said then-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, in February. "That’s why today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit to rehear this case is critical; it is the next step in the defense of our state’s commonsense gun laws."
The 22 states have filed an amicus brief in support of the pro-gun rights side, arguing that it violates Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms. They say it bans the possession of arms even for self-defense, since the magazines that are banned are integral to some of the most popular firearms.
"California is trying to turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals simply for owning the magazines that come standard to many of the most popular firearms in our country," Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement. "As radical leftist lawmakers in California and beyond persist in their attempts to legislatively overrule our constitutional rights, I will continue to stand strong in defense of our right to keep and bear arms."
The 22 states with Republican state attorney generals signed onto the amicus brief include Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on the case in June.
The states argue that the right to bear arms protects those in disadvantaged communities, and in high-crime areas where law enforcement may be unable to respond in time to crimes being committed.
"California should not be allowed to invade its own citizens’ constitutional rights, and this Court should not imperil the rights of citizens in this Circuit and other states with its analysis," the brief says.
California has argued that such a ban is necessary since guns with more than 10 rounds have been used in a number of mass shootings. California banned the manufacturing, sale and transfer of such magazines in 2000. But in 2016 the state tried to ban even the possession of those magazines.
But it was struck down after the lawsuit, which was launched by the National Rifle Association and a coalition of gun owners.
The review comes as President Biden has called for the Congress to act on gun control measures -- including a ban of large-capacity magazines, after shootings in Boulder, Colo., and Atlanta Georgia.
Biden urged Congress to ban "assault weapons" as well as high-capacity magazines.
"I got that done as a senator. It brought down mass shootings, we can do it again," Biden said during remarks at the White House. "We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again."
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