The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the City of Sunnyvale, California was within its rights to ban magazines with greater than 10-round capacity. The case, Fyock v. Sunnyvale, was an appeal by the plaintiffs from the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The three judges on the case – Michael Daly Hawkins, Johnnie B. Rawlinson, and District Court Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn – were all appointed by President Bill Clinton.
The panel affirmed the district court’s denial of a request
to preliminarily enjoin an ordinance enacted by the City of
Sunnyvale, California, restricting the possession of “large capacity
magazines” statutorily defined as a detachable
ammunition feeding device capable of accepting more than
The panel held that the district court applied the
appropriate legal principles and did not clearly err in finding,
based on the record before it, that a regulation restricting
possession of certain types of magazines burdened conduct
falling within the scope of the Second Amendment. The
panel further agreed with the district court that intermediate
scrutiny was appropriate. The panel held that Sunnyvale’s
interests in promoting public safety and reducing violent
crime were substantial and important government interests.
So, too, were Sunnyvale’s interests in reducing the harm and lethality of gun injuries in general, and in particular as against
law enforcement officers. The panel held that the evidence
identified by the district court was precisely the type of
evidence that Sunnyvale was permitted to rely upon to
substantiate its interest. The panel concluded that the district
court did not abuse its discretion in determining, on the
record before it, that Sunnyvale presented sufficient evidence
to show that the ordinance was likely to survive intermediate
scrutiny and that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they
would likely succeed on the merits of their claim.
The Sunnyvale ban was not merely a ban on sale but a ban on possession of standard capacity magazines.
Amicus briefs on the plaintiffs’ behalf included briefs from the NSSF, the California Rifle & Pistol Association, the Pink Pistols, and the Gun Owners of California.
Those supporting Sunnyvale included the usual coterie of gun prohibitionists including the Brady Center, Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (sic) (formerly LCAV), and the Cities of LA and San Francisco.