Shall Not Be Substantially Burdened
“Infringed” is now officially retired
2020 might be 100-year flood year for bad news, but there is bit of good news from the Left Coast that should bring smiles to the faces of gun owners across the nation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that California’s ban on magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition is unconstitutional. This is big news, and not only because magazine limits are ridiculous.
“From pre-colonial times to today’s post-modern era, the right to defend hearth and home has remained paramount. California’s law imposes a substantial burden on this right to self-defense,” wrote Judge Kenneth Lee, who was joined in the majority by Judge Consuelo Callahan.
First of all, this is a win for California residents who have had their right to keep and bear arms infringed upon by the 10-round limit. Not only are magazines holding more than ten rounds banned from sale, even possessing one was a criminal act. This ruling is the first step toward ending that unAmerican injustice. We know that those in California desire full-capacity magazines, because last year we saw hundreds of thousands of banned magazines purchased in the state when the ban was struck down for a week until a stay was enacted.
Second of all, this decision in the 9th Circuit establishes a precedent that will be at least considered, if not followed, by the other circuits around the country. If the 9th Circuit has determined that the ban is unconstitutional, the burden will be on another court to overrule the 9th, and any magazine cases making it to the U.S. Supreme Court will take the 9th’s ruling and reasoning into consideration. This ruling is definitely bad news for other magazine limitations across America.
Third, this comes at a time when gun sales are setting record after record. We’d all crowned President Obama as the Gun Salesman of the Century, but we’re still pretty early in the century. A global pandemic has teamed up with widespread mob violence, backed by many of our nation’s so-called leaders, to create what appears to be a perfect storm of gun-buying. Many who have never owned a gun before are deciding, or at least considering, getting one. I’ve been asked for advice on this very topic by those who’ve never owned a firearm before. The unrest and uncertainty in America is making people scared, and fear tends to bring things into focus like never before.
Paul Gallant, a talk show host who had previously mocked President Trump for claiming that Seattle protestors were violent, came home one day to find that those “mostly peaceful” protestors had ransacked the Starbucks in his apartment building and he was shocked by the violence and said that “I feel like I need to buy a firearm, because clearly this is going to keep happening.” Welcome to the club, pal.
Finally, let’s not forget that this is the 9th Circuit. Yes, the “9th Circus,” as many like to call it. That massive circuit that seems to grind out controversial rulings left and lefter. The fact that this ruling comes from that madhouse should not be taken lightly. President Trump has had a number of big successes in his first term, but I don’t think any can compare to the way that his appointees have re-balanced things in the federal courts. This magazine ban decision was made by a three-judge panel, and the two judges holding the majority opinion were Republican appointees. Judge Lee, who wrote the opinion, was appointed by President Trump last year. Judge Callahan was appointed by President Bush in 2003. The balance is shifting, and it’s about time.
All isn’t roses, of course. This was a three-judge panel decision, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has the option of asking for an 11-judge “en banc” hearing, which could reverse this decision. And, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court is still up there. Have no doubt that the banners are not finished.
Judge Barbara Lynn, a District Court judge in Texas, was the third member of the panel and the lone dissenter. Her opinion was that though the ban restricts rights and is burdensome, the “restriction is not substantially burdensome because Californians can still possess other magazines.” Got that? Yes, you can’t have those magazines, but stop whining because there are other less-effective magazines that you can still have. Let’s do that with medicine. “Gee, we are not going to let you have the medicine that will cure you, but we’ll let you have the medicine that will help a little.” Or schools. “You can’t send your kids to the good schools, but that’s okay because there are other schools around that you can still choose.”
I re-checked my Constitution, but I didn’t see the part where it said “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be substantially infringed as long as there are other options that we decided are okay.”
If you want more judges who rule according to the Constitution, vote for Trump and Republican senate candidates in November. If you want someone deciding which rights you can have and which rights can be restricted as long as they decide it’s not that substantial, go ahead and vote for someone else.