September 9, 2020
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today joined 17 attorneys general to defend California’s ban on large-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the coalition supports California’s petition for en banc review in Duncan v. Becerra, a case in which a divided three-judge panel struck down California’s ban. The brief argues that the Second Amendment allows states to enact reasonable firearm restrictions that protect public safety without infringing individuals’ core Second Amendment right to self-defense.
“As Attorneys General, my colleagues and I have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Nessel. “While Michigan doesn’t have a comparable statute on the books, it’s important that I join my colleagues in an effort to preserve the right for each state to implement common-sense public safety and firearm regulations.”
Since 2000, California has prohibited the manufacture, import and sale of large-capacity magazines. In 2016, to further stem the proliferation of large-capacity magazines, the California legislature and the California electorate passed Proposition 63 banning the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Nine other states and the District of Columbia have also enacted laws banning large-capacity magazines. The constitutionality of those laws have been unanimously upheld by other federal courts of appeals.
The Duncan lawsuit was filed by a group of gun owners and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, a state affiliate of the National Rifle Association (NRA), after the passage of California’s Proposition 63. In April 2019, a lower court struck down California’s prohibition on large-capacity magazines. California appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit, and in August 2020, a divided three-judge panel affirmed the district court’s judgment. California sought en banc review, prompting the states’ amicus brief in support.
In the amicus brief, the states collectively urge the Ninth Circuit to rehear the case en banc and argue that California’s ban on large-capacity magazines is a reasonable and lawful restriction because:
Nessel joins the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington in filing this brief.