Writing for the Washington Civil Rights Association, contributor Marion Bishop warns Evergreen State lawmakers now backing legislation to ban so-called “high capacity magazines” such a ban would be unconstitutional “and will certainly be met with a judicial challenge should they become law.”
While anti-gun Democrat State Senators Jeannie Darnell, Patty Kuderer, Marko Liias, Jamie Pedersen, Sam Hunt, Joe Nyugen and Claire Wilson may balk at the notion, they should consult an opinion from the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals in a California case known as Duncan v. Becerra.
Both Washington and California are in the Ninth Circuit. The Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Wash., participated in an amicus brief supporting plaintiffs in the case, and hailed the ruling. California has asked for an en banc hearing.
Writing for the majority on a three-judge panel, Circuit Judge Kenneth K. Lee observed, “We understand the purpose in passing this law. But even the laudable goal of reducing gun violence must comply with the Constitution. California’s near-categorical ban of LCMs (“Large Capacity Magazines”) infringes on the fundamental right to self-defense. It criminalizes the possession of half of all magazines in America today. It makes unlawful magazines that are commonly used in handguns by law-abiding citizens for self-defense. And it substantially burdens the core right of self-defense guaranteed to the people under the Second Amendment. It cannot stand.”
Washington Senate Bill 5078 and its companion, House Bill 1164, would satisfy one of the feel-good efforts of the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby, but the notion such a ban would accomplish anything is nonsense, according to Second Amendment advocates.
Such magazines are most commonly associated with so-called “assault rifles,” which are typically delivered from the factory with either a 20- or 30-round magazine. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, rifles of any kind, including semiautomatics habitually misrepresented as “assault rifles,” are used in a fraction of all homicides.
Many modern semiautomatic handguns also come from the factory with magazines that hold more than ten rounds. It’s not clear why anti-gunners have settled on ten rounds as the acceptable cartridge limit, but someone adept at replacing magazines in rifles or pistols can do so in a couple of seconds.
The 2018 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School was committed with 10-round magazines. This fact was revealed by National Review, but not widely reported. Many believe that’s because it didn’t fit the gun control narrative.
The 2014 Isla Vista shooting in California was committed by Elliot Rodger using California-compliant 10-round magazines. He legally purchased three handguns in the months leading up to the shooting, clearing background checks all three times. Of the six victims, three of them were stabbed to death, not shot. These facts also seem to get lost when this case is discussed by gun prohibitionists because it doesn’t fit their narrative.
Perhaps the most damning passage of Bishop’s short essay is the final paragraph.
“These bills are written by people who are unfamiliar with gun usage,” Bishop writes, “for people who are unfamiliar with gun usage. Support for these bills is based on appeals to emotion and fear, not science. We encourage our legislators who have been using science, not rhetoric, to inform policy this year to continue doing so by standing against SB 5078 and HB 1164.”