‘This opinion is not normal’ — Gun control advocates criticize high capacity magazine ruling

‘This opinion is not normal’ — Gun control advocates criticize high capacity magazine ruling

Gun Rights

Polls show solid support for stricter laws, especially after mass shootings. But there are also deep disagreement, staunch opposition and growing disenchantment with gun control. By Gun control advocates expected U.S. District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez’ ruling striking downa California initiative restricting the size of firearm magazines. But they didn’t anticipate the way he did it. In a fiery 86-page decision released last week, Benitez — appointed to the bench by George W. Bush in 2003 — cited a number of burglary-homicides where he said the amount of ammunition available made the difference between life and death. He said high-capacity ammunition magazines are protected by a Second Amendment drafted by “colonists who cherished individual freedom more than the subservient security of a British ruler.” Supporters of California’s law, which voters approved in 2016 as Proposition 63, were startled by the tone of Benitez’s ruling. “This opinion is not normal,” said Ari Freilich, California legislative affairs director for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which filed a brief in support of the magazine ban. In his ruling, Benitez dissected some of the state of California’s evidence, including a Mother Jones magazine report on the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States. He critiqued the magazine’s descriptions of California shootings and questioned whether restrictions on magazine capacity would have stopped a shooter. “Mass shootings are tragic. But they are rare events,” Benitez wrote. Feilich’s organization was founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed in […]

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