Large Capacity Magazines: Lt. Governor Newsom on two separate District Court considerations today


SACRAMENTO - Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement on two separate District Court considerations on delaying the implementation of Proposition 63's ban on large capacity magazines today, which Lt. Governor Newsom co-authored and was overwhelmingly supported by California voters:

"Following a wave of lawsuits filed by the gun lobby as part of their orchestrated campaign to dismantle public safety laws and overturn the clear will of California voters, two separate District Court judges arrived at polar opposite conclusions on delaying the implementation of Proposition 63's ban on large capacity magazines.

"Today, a district court in the Eastern District of California explained that the gun lobby was likely to fail in its case. In fact, other federal courts have repeatedly upheld bans and restrictions on large capacity magazines. But a district court judge in San Diego ruled to delay implementation. This is a temporary exception to the rule.

"I am very confident that the will of California's voters to ban these devastating large capacity magazines will be upheld and supported by federal courts in the long run and consistently with those other federal court decisions."


Two federal judges in separate District Courts today considered the NRA's request to delay implementation of Proposition 63's large capacity magazine provisions, which were scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2017. The judge in the California Southern U.S. District Court (San Diego) ruled in favor of a temporary delay and will prevent California from enforcing the large capacity magazine ban until a final decision can be made.

In a separate ruling earlier today by Eastern District of California U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb, a George H.W. Bush appointee based in Sacramento, thoroughly evaluated each of the gun lobby's arguments and explained why they were likely to fail. Judge Shubb also specifically noted that the loophole in California law that previously allowed for possession of large capacity magazines meant that "there was no way for law enforcement to determine which magazines were 'grandfathered' and which were illegally transferred or modified to accept more than 10 rounds[.]"

Judge Shubb also noted that the stated objective of the large capacity magazine ban is to reduce the incidence and harm of mass shootings and observed that "there can be no serious argument that this is not a substantial government interest, especially in light of several recent high-profile mass shootings involving large-capacity magazines," including the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the 2011 Arizona shooting involving then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

Similar suits to overturn large capacity magazine bans have been roundly rejected by federal appellate courts across the US, and the Ninth Circuit (with jurisdiction over California) recently rejected the gun lobby's efforts to enjoin Sunnyvale's local large capacity magazine ban. Though the gun lobby dropped that case before a final decision from the court, the court rejected their motion to preliminary enjoin enforcement of that Large Capacity Magazine ordinance by noting evidence that the use of large capacity magazines "results in more gunshots fired, results in more gunshot wounds per victim, and increases the lethality of gunshot injuries." The court also cited evidence that these magazines "are disproportionately used in mass shootings as well as crimes against law enforcement" and that the city maintained a strong interest in protecting the public against their potential use.