California Politics

A massive buying frenzy for high-capacity firearm magazines, with hundreds of thousands entering the state over a one-week period.


Capitol Alert
High-capacity magazines flooded into California after judge struck down gun control law
BY ANDREW SHEELER
APRIL 11, 2019 05:27 PM, UPDATED APRIL 11, 2019 05:41 PM

A federal judge’s decision to legalize the purchase of high-capacity firearm magazines in California touched off a massive buying frenzy, with hundreds of thousands of the magazines entering the state over a one-week period, according to a Second Amendment advocacy group.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association called that window “Freedom Week.”

It unfolded between March 29, when U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez overturned the state’s ban on the possession of gun magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, and April 5, when Benitez granted the state’s request to delay the implementation of his ruling.
The website Ammoland.com reported that several firearm accessory retailers advertised to gun owners with sales on high-capacity magazines. They included Beretta, which offered a 20 percent discount, and others.

“Brownells (a gun dealer) is trying to flood California with AR-15 magazines,” Ammoland reported, describing a discount the retailer offered after Benitez’s decision striking down California’s law.

The rifle and pistol association, along with the National Rifle Association, supported the lawsuit that challenged California’s gun control measure.

Benitez’ decision in favor of the gun rights groups overturned not just a 2016 ballot initiative that banned possession of large capacity magazines, but also a 20-year-old law restricting the sale of those devices.

By granting California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s request to delay the ruling, Benitez made purchasing large-capacity magazines illegal again in California while the state prepares to appeal his ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Californians who bought large-capacity magazines in the window when they were legal can keep them, for now. They might have to give them up if a higher court disagrees with Benitez’s ruling and upholds California’s gun control law.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association in a message to its supporters this week reminded gun owners that it is now illegal to import high-capacity magazines from out of state or to export them. The penalty for violating the law can be either a misdemeanor or felony, a type of law the association referred to as a “wobbler.”

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