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CRPA Files Petition For Supreme Court Review In Its Challenge To California’s Ban On Standard Capacity Magazines

March 3, 2022

On February 28, 2022, CRPA filed its much-anticipated petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court in Duncan v. Bonta (formerly Duncan v. Becerra). The CRPA lawsuit, which challenges California’s flat ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, was the first successful constitutional challenge to bans on so-called “large-capacity magazines” in the country.

As reported previously, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held in August 2020 that California’s ban on standard-capacity magazines is unconstitutional. That decision struck down California’s statewide prohibitions on both possessing and acquiring such magazines, upholding a 2019 decision from the United States District Court in San Diego secured by CRPA and its attorneys at Michel & Associates, P.C. The historic Duncan panel decision was, unfortunately, vacated and later overturned when the case was heard en banc, by an expectedly unfriendly en banc panel—composed of 7 judges appointed by Democrats and just 4 appointed by Republicans.

The Supreme Court petition filed yesterday asks the Court to review the en banc decision, observing that, in the years since Heller, too many states have doubled down on their disdain for the People’s right to keep and bear arms, imposing increasingly severe restrictions on protected Second Amendment conduct. California, of course, has long been at the forefront of this rights-squelching practice. And the courts, for their part, have done precious little to suppress it. To the contrary, opinions like the Ninth Circuit en banc decision in Duncan all but encourage the states to continue thumbing their nose at the Supreme Court and its decisions in Heller and McDonald.

CRPA argues in its petition, “[l]ike other courts upholding such laws …, the Ninth Circuit approved California’s confiscatory law by applying a dilutive two-step mode of analysis that resembles no other form of heightened scrutiny but operates almost exactly like the balancing approach expressly rejected by this Court in Heller.” CRPA also argues that it is time for the Court to accept the Ninth Circuit’s invitation to step in and “tell [the lower courts] to stop” disrespecting the Second Amendment by applying an utterly toothless form of “heightened” scrutiny that almost guarantees that any law that intrudes upon the right to arms will be upheld.

CRPA President Chuck Michel says he is “proud of CRPA’s efforts to put an end to California’s confiscatory ban on magazines that come standard with some of America’s most popular handguns and rifles. No matter what the outcome of Duncan, though, CRPA will continue its tireless fight against our state’s draconian gun control regime.”

CRPA now awaits yet another ruling in its historic gun-rights lawsuit. The decision could come at any time, but it could be held up in light of New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which the Supreme Court heard last fall and could have a significant impact on the Court’s handling of Duncan. Stay tuned!

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CRPA’s efforts in Duncan and the many other lawsuits fighting for the rights of California gun owners would not be possible without the support of our members and the public. Please help CRPA continue the fight against California’s unconstitutional laws by donating to the CRPA Foundation.

And make sure you are subscribed to CRPA email alerts and visit the CRPA website for the latest developments in Duncan.