BOB BARR: Excellent Second Amendment opinion lasts only one week

BOB BARR: Excellent Second Amendment opinion lasts only one week

Gun Rights

As the saying goes, “it was great while it lasted.” On Friday, March 29, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez issued an 86-page order declaring unconstitutional California’s law criminalizing possession of firearm magazines with a capacity to hold more than 10 rounds. The senior jurist, who was confirmed to his post in 2004 following nomination by President George W. Bush, went further than do most judges when striking down a state law as contrary to the U.S. Constitution. He directed that his order be effective immediately. In other words, Judge Benitez did not allow California to continue to enforce the unconstitutional law while the state appealed the decision (a process that can be expected to take months). Unfortunately, less than one week later — on Thursday, April 4 — Benitez relented, and stayed his order so as to give California’s very liberal attorney general, former Congressman Xavier Becerra, opportunity to appeal the decision to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Notwithstanding the judge’s about-face, his lengthy opinion declaring the magazine ban incompatible with the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the “right to keep and bear arms,” deserves continued scrutiny and praise. The opinion is strikingly lucid in explaining both the history and the practical necessity of allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, if they so choose, with a firearm capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading. At the outset, Benitez properly underpins his analysis of the magazine ban by asserting that at its core, the Second Amendment […]

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