A Partial Loss In California Mag Ban Case

The opinion and ruling by US District Court Judge Roger Benitez in the California magazine ban case – Duncan et al v. Becerra – has garnered lots of attention this past week. His ruling was a permanent injunction on California’s ban on the sale of standard capacity magazines. The result has been that the major online retailers such as Palmetto State Armory, AIM Surplus, Brownells, and Midway USA have been inundated with orders for magazines by California residents.

As you might imagine, the State of California and Attorney General Xavier Becerra are not happy campers. They requested an immediate stay on the ruling while they appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This afternoon, Judge Benitez granted a partial stay after weighing the arguments of both sides and trying to satisfy both sides.

From his order:

In layman’s terms, the State of California and the law enforcement agencies
therein will be free to re-start the enforcement of Calif. Penal Code § 32310 (a) and
(b) which currently prohibits, among other things, any person in the state from
manufacturing, importing into the state, offering for sale, giving, lending, buying,
or receiving a firearm magazine able to hold more than 10 rounds (as defined by
Calif. Penal Code § 16740). This will continue until the appeal proceedings
conclude or the stay is modified or lifted.

At the same time, the State of California and the law enforcement agencies
therein will remain enjoined (or prevented) from enforcing Calif. Penal Code
§ 32310 (c) and (d) which would have criminalized the simple possession of a
firearm magazine able to hold more than 10 rounds and required disposing of such magazines. This will also continue until the appeal proceedings conclude or the
stay is modified or lifted.

Both parties indicate in briefing that persons and business entities in California
may have manufactured, imported, sold, or bought magazines able to hold more
than 10 rounds since the entry of this Court’s injunction on March 29, 2019 and in
reliance on the injunction. Indeed, it is the reason that the Attorney General seeks
urgent relief in the form of a stay pending appeal. Both parties suggest that it is
appropriate to fashion protection for these law-abiding persons.


THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that the Judgment is stayed in part
pending final resolution of the appeal from the Judgment. The permanent
injunction enjoining enforcement of California Penal Code § 32310 (a) and (b) is
hereby stayed, effective 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 5, 2019.


IT IS HEREBY FURTHER ORDERED
that the preliminary injunction issued
on June 29, 2017, enjoining enforcement of California Penal Code § 32310 (c) and
(d) shall remain in effect.


IT IS HEREBY FURTHER ORDERED
that the permanent injunction
enjoining enforcement of California Penal Code § 32310 (a) and (b) shall remain in
effect for those persons and business entities who have manufactured, imported,
sold, or bought magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds between the entry of
this Court’s injunction on March 29, 2019 and 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 5, 2019.

Dated: April 4, 2019

Translated this means that standard capacity magazines can’t be sold, made, imported, or given away after tomorrow, Friday, April 5, 2019 at 5:00pm PDT. However, if you bought a magazine, sold a magazine, or otherwise transferred one into California between March 29th and April 5th at 5:00pm, you are still covered by the permanent injunction against the ban. This means you have until 5:00pm tomorrow to receive it. Or take a quick trip out of state – Nevada, Arizona, etc – and be back by 5:00pm with your new standard capacity magazines.

Moreover, further translating, the preliminary injunction prevents prosecution of those who possessed a standard capacity magazine prior to July 1, 2017. They will not be forced to dispose of their magazines to comply with subsection (d).

You can read the relevant penal code here.


2 thoughts on “A Partial Loss In California Mag Ban Case”

  1. Since the 9th Circuit will undoubtedly ban the magazines a quick trip out of state will not do anything for your long term prospects since I don't believe this law has a grandfather clause. You can make the same trip out of state after the ban goes into effect as be just as illegal as you would be if you bought it today.

    1. The original law from 2000 had a grandfather clause, it wasn't until the recent proposition was passed that the clause was negated and all standard mags were illegal no matter when purchased. The original ruling last week enjoined the whole law making possession, sale, & acquisition legal, and reinstating the grandfather clause for previously owned mags. The above stay keeps the grandfather clause, but no more sales etc. after Fri @5PM. Any mags purchased during the one week free-for-all or pre-2000 are good to go.

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