A law set to go into effect Saturday that would make it illegal for Californians to possess a gun magazine holding more than 10 rounds has been blocked for now by a federal judge, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez, in a strongly worded ruling, said the law would violate the Second Amendment right for gun owners to defend his home, unfairly take people’s property without compensation and make otherwise law-abiding citizens criminals if they merely possessed such high-capacity magazines. The judge acknowledged the tragic toll gun violence has taken on the U.S. but stressed that “public safety interests may not eviscerate the Second Amendment.”
“Gun violence to carry out crime is horrendous and should be condemned by all,” wrote Benitez, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “Defensive gun violence may be the only way a law-abiding citizen can avoid becoming a victim.” Large magazines have been illegal to sell, manufacture, import or transfer since 2000 in the state. Last July, the legislature passed a bill that would make ownership of the gun parts an infraction, and in November voters passed a similar, clarified measure, Proposition 63. Current owners were told they had to get rid of the offending pieces by either taking them to one of dozens of states where ownership is legal, selling the magazines to a licensed firearms dealer, or turning them in to law enforcement for destruction. The California Rifle and Pistol Association — the state arm of the National Rifle Association — and five county residents filed a lawsuit claiming the law was infringing on the constitutional right to bear arms and other rights.