On the same day President Joe Biden said he would reinstitute an “assault weapons” ban and a law limiting rounds allowed in gun magazines, a federal judge in California on Friday struck down that state’s 10-round limit, calling it unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez of the Southern District of California leaned on a 2022 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which overturned restrictions on guns and stated clearly that any state gun restrictions must be done in the historical context of when the country’s Founders wrote the Second Amendment.
Benitez wrote that the California state law, as written, essentially makes it a crime to keep and bear the most common firearm magazines typically possessed for lawful purposes.
The Glock 17 has a 17-round magazine, for example. The Glock 17 and Glock 19 (10-round) are two of the most popular handguns made by Glock, and are common among law enforcement officers, military personnel, and millions of private citizens. An estimated one million Glocks are sold each year, many of them with more than 10-round capacity.
“Based on the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment, this law is clearly unconstitutional,” Benitez wrote. “There is no American tradition of limiting ammunition capacity and the 10-round limit has no historical pedigree and it is arbitrary and capricious.”
Benitez is known for being a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. Born in Havana, Cuba under communism, he earned an Associate of Arts degree from Imperial Valley College in 1971, a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University in 1974, and a Juris Doctor from the Western State University College of Law’s San Diego campus (now called the Thomas Jefferson School of Law) in 1978.
In 2004, he was nominated for a federal judgeship by President George W. Bush and was confirmed by the entire Senate, with the exception of Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.