December 2021 Legislative Report

December 2021 Legislative Report

December 2021 Legislation/Litigation Update

Focus for December:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals En Banc panel has overturned the district court ruling that found the California “Large Capacity Magazine” ban unconstitutional. The lawsuit, know currently as “Duncan v Bonta”, challenged the ban of possession of large capacity magazines that was approved by California voters in Prop 63. The ruling issued November 30, 2021, overturns the ruling of the U.S. District Court of Southern California that was issued by Judge Roger Benitez. Judge Benitez’ ruling was stayed after a period known as “Freedom Week”. Estimates run up to a million large capacity magazines being purchased during that week, which will remain illegal due to this ruling by the 9th Circuit.

Manufacture, importation, and transfers of large capacity magazines have been banned by Penal Code section 32310 (A) since January 1, 2000. In 2016, Proposition 63 added subsection (C) which bans possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. That subsection was to take effect July 1, 2017, but was stayed pending the outcome of this lawsuit.

Enforcement of the ban was stayed as part of the court actions in Duncan v Bonta, but with the Appeals Court ruling that stay may be lifted. The case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee they will agree to hear it.

Another case, Rupp v Bonta, challenging the California Assault Weapons ban was pended to Duncan v Bonta, but the three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit that heard that case has indicated it will be pended to the Supreme Court case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.

For the exact wording of the large capacity magazine ban:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawcode=PEN&sectionNum=32310

For the definition of “large capacity magazine under the California Penal Code:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawcode=PEN&sectionNum=16740

Note that manufacture, import, transfer, or possession of large capacity magazines is banned under California Penal Code section 32310, the enforcement of the ban on possession has been temporarily stayed.

Potential Legislative Action

California Governor Gavin Newsom has stated that he wants the legislature to pass a law patterned after the Texas Abortion law, but applying to “assault weapons, ghost guns, and ghost gun parts”. This would allow private citizens to sue anyone who makes or sells those items, and allows the person who sues to collect a minimum of $10,000 from the lawsuit. This is currently only a talking point, but it could be introduced when the legislature is back in session.

Respectfully submitted,
David Smith