Gun Owners Ask SCOTUS to Block Implementation of High-Capacity Magazine Ban


Does the Second Amendment protect the right of gun owners to possess magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition? A group of California gun owners says it does, and today they asked Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to block the implementation of one such ban as they mount a Second Amendment challenge to it in federal court.

At issue in Fyock v. City of Sunnyvale is that municipality's 2013 law banning the possession of high-capacity magazines. Last week the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the city from enforcing the ban while the litigation moved forward, arguing that the ban represents "only the most minor burden on the Second Amendment." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit likewise refused to block the law from going into effect.

The plaintiffs now seek redress at the hands of Justice Kennedy, whose duties include fielding such motions originating from the 9th Circuit. "Granting the injunction will simply preserve Applicants' rights while the case is decided on the merits," the plaintiffs' motion states. By contrast, the lower courts have endorsed a "Hobson's choice," requiring otherwise law-abiding gun owners to either hand over their property "or continue exercising their constitutional right to possess the items in violation of the law, subjecting themselves to criminal penalties."