Guest Editorial: L.A. law flouts 2nd Amendment
A Los Angeles ordinance signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti in August that bans the mere possession of firearm magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds does not sit well with county sheriffs across the state.
In all, 30 sheriffs – just over half the state’s 58 county sheriffs – including San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, have joined the California Rifle and Pistol Association, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, the California Reserve Peace Officers Association and several affected individuals to try to have the law thrown out by the court.
“These magazines are possessed by millions of law-abiding Americans for a variety of legitimate purposes, including self-defense,” the CRPA said in a statement. “This ordinance will not prevent violent crime or mass shootings, but will limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners who choose these magazines to defend themselves and their families.”
The magazine ban “does nothing to reduce gun violence,” Shasta County Sheriff Thomas Bosenko, a party to the lawsuit, told Courthouse News. On the contrary, “The ordinance impacts those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes,” he said. “Ordinances and laws such as the magazine ban make it better for the criminal and encourage them to commit crimes with greater confidence.”
Rather than litigating Second Amendment rights, the suit contends that the local ordinance is pre-empted by state law. California banned the manufacture or sale of such “high-capacity” magazines staring in 2000, but those in possession of them at the time were allowed to keep them. So, as if the violation of Second Amendment rights was not enough, L.A.’s ban also amounts to an unconstitutional taking and an unconstitutional ex post facto law.
Some question why someone would need more than 10 bullets, but a famous Florida State University study of defensive gun uses revealed that in nearly 50 percent of the cases, a victim had to fend off two or more attackers, and nearly 25 percent of the time there were at least three attackers. Under great stress like that, one would not want to be limited to 10 shots, which is probably one reason manufacturers’ standard (non-California-approved) magazines frequently have a capacity of greater than 10 rounds.
We hope the courts will listen to these law enforcement leaders who recognize that this measure will infringe upon law-abiding citizens’ right to self-defense without doing anything to reduce crime, and shoot down the magazine limit.