In 1994 California lawmakers enacted the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. Under the California Penal Code, Section 32310, a ban was imposed upon firearms magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Under this law it was illegal to manufacture, sell, give away, store, or own what they call, a high capacity magazine.
In March U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez issued an injunction against the enforcement of the ban on high capacity magazines. What this means is that it then became legal to purchase and own magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
Cheers arose from 2nd Amendment supporters as they called this a victory for gun rights. But hold on a second, the story doesn’t end here. The, misnamed I might add, California Department of Justice quickly went to work to prepare an appeal to Judge Benitez’s decision.
The Dept. of Justice sent Judge Benitez a motion asking/telling him to issue a stay upon his own injunction; which basically means changing his position on it. On April 4, 2019 Judge Benitez issued a stay upon his own injunction, stating, “THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Judgment is stayed in part pending final resolution of the appeal from the Judgment. The permanent injunction enjoining enforcement of California Penal Code §32310(a) and (b) is hereby stayed, effective 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 5, 2019.
IT IS HEREBY FURTHER ORDERED that the preliminary injunction issued on June 29, 2017, enjoining enforcement of California Penal Code §32310 (c) and (d) shall remain in effect.”
This stay went into effect on 5 p.m. on Friday April 5th; which was yesterday. So now it is once again illegal to own or purchase high capacity magazines in California.
But again, the story doesn’t end here. What has happened is that California lawmakers enacted a law banning these type magazines, then a judge declared that law to be null and void, then the department of justice told him to temporarily rescind his decision while they form an appeal which can then be heard by a higher court. So most likely this will be bumped up to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; which probably means, since the 9th Circuit is decidedly left leaning, that the law will stay on the books.
It could stop there, or it could get bumped up even higher; meaning the Supreme Court might hear the case and render a final decision on it. That all depends upon whether those opposing the ban wish to push the issue, and it also depends upon whether the SCOTUS chooses to hear the case. They could very well let the 9th Circuit’s ruling stand and choose not to go anywhere near this emotional issue.
But, for the time being, (and I need to make this absolutely clear), IT IS ILLEGAL TO PURCHASE OR OWN HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES IN CALIFORNIA. So, if you had been planning on making a trip to Cabelas in Reno to grab as many high capacity magazines as you can afford, know that if you do buy them and cross back into California, YOU WILL BE GUILTY OF COMMITTING A CRIME.
Right now the outcome of this case is out of our hands entirely; being in the hands of judges and lawyers, with case briefs being prepared and motions being issued until it reaches its final conclusion and we learn whether or not we will be able to purchase and own these type magazines.
I began researching this today when I woke up because last night at work I overheard people saying they were planning on making a trip to Reno, or having someone go there for them, for the sole purpose of purchasing high capacity magazines for their rifles. I had mentioned that as far as I knew the ban on them had been repealed by a judge, but after researching it I found that the same judge who issued that injunction against the enforcement of that ban had reversed his opinion; and I wanted to make people aware of the current status of that law.
But this does lead me to another issue; that being the power of judges to decide what the law shall be, or more specifically, what the law means. The role of a judge is to uphold order in their court and who explains to the jurors the meaning and intent of the law they are about to decide the innocence or guilt of a defendant upon. One of the key characteristics of a judge is that they be impartial; meaning they should not take political sides or be biased by popular public sentiments.
Chief Justice Warren Burger said pretty much the same thing in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor back in 1987, “Judges … rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to pressures of the times.”
If that be the case, and if the law remains unchanged, then why is it that people fear a left or right leaning Supreme Court in cases like Roe v. Wade; where a right leaning SCOTUS might overturn the decision handed down by a previous SCOTUS?
If the law remains unchanged, and if it means now what it means when it was enacted, then how can one set of Justices overturn a decision handed down by a previous set of Justices? That implies that one set of Justices were wrong in their understanding of the law; the question is; which set of Justices are we to believe was wrong? Were the Justices who handed down the original decision wrong, or are the Justices who overturn that decision wrong?
Are you aware that the SCOTUS has overturned its own rulings more than 200 times; 236 to be exact. What that means is that in 236 cases, one set of Justices got it wrong; the question is, which set of Justices does that statement apply to? More importantly, why would one set of Justices overturn a decision handed down by a previous session of the SCOTUS unless it was because the beliefs and ideologies of the individual Justices are biased and subject to the pressures of whatever is considered politically correct?
If the law is the law, if it remains unchanging throughout time, then the SCOTUS should have no reason to overturn any decision handed down by a previous session of the Court. So why have they done it 236 times?
I don’t know about you, but that sure doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me as to their understanding of the law; especially when the laws they are deciding cases upon pertain to my ability to fully exercise my rights.
Years ago I wrote a lengthy article explaining how and why I felt that any gun law was a violation of my right to keep and bear arms. I made dozens of copies; sending them to each member of the SCOTUS, to the President, my elected representatives in Congress, to the then Governor of California, to the State Attorney General. Each of those letters contained a plea for them to provide their justification for upholding and enforcing these laws that restrict my right to keep and bear arms.
Out of all those letters I got but one response; from Justice Stephen Breyer. To paraphrase his words he said something along the lines of, “I read your interesting letter, and here are the current Court decisions on the 2nd Amendment.” Basically he was telling me that they were god, and that I should not consider myself to be qualified to question their decisions on such complicated issues like my right to keep and bear arms. In other words, he was saying, “Fuck off you peon! Let the judges handle these important issues.”
Gee, I wonder, would Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Samuel Adams have just let some judge tell them to fuck off, let the judges handle the important decision of how much liberty they would be allowed to enjoy?
What they did was quite the opposite, they told those in power to fuck off, that they alone were capable of understanding and determining how much liberty they should enjoy; and they had the courage to, as the old saying goes, put their money where their mouths were.
This idea that some clowns dressed in black robes should have the ultimate authority to determine the meaning and legality of the law itself was something Thomas Jefferson feared in our system of government.
In a letter to the wife of John Adams, Jefferson wrote, “BUT THE OPINION which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.”
Then, in a letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Jefferson wrote, “If [as the Federalists say] “the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government,” … , then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de so. … The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they may please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass.”
I don’t need a judge to explain the law to me thank you very much. I am fully capable of reading the law, of comparing that law with the Bill of Rights or the specific powers granted government by the Constitution, and determining for myself whether that law serves justice of if it denies justice.
That is the sole reason why Jefferson also felt so strongly about the right to trial by jury; for it provides a moral check against the usurpation of unlawful powers and any infringement upon our liberties. All it takes is one well-informed juror to prevent injustice by voting not guilty when the juror feels that the law itself is unjust, or a violation of a person’s individual rights.
I don’t need a judge or a gaggle of lawyers to decide what the 2nd Amendment means; it means that my right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. No judge, no lawmaker can tell me what kinds of guns the 2nd Amendment applies to, the capacity of the magazine, or if I should be required to obtain a permit or pay a fee to carry one on my person for my own personal defense.
That’s what the 2nd Amendment means to me, and I’ m growing increasingly angry over both my lawmaker’s, and the public in general, for trying to limit or restrict that right.
People ask me all the time how many guns I own, as if my answer will determine whether or not they should be my friend, or afraid of me. You want to know how I answer; I say, “Not enough.” That’s my standard answer and when I’m asked to expound upon it, especially when it is a woman asking, I ask her how many purses or pairs of shoes she has. If she says, what’s that got to do with how many guns you own, I say, EVERYTHING, for if you have the right to own more than one pair of shoes, or one purse, then I have a right to own as many guns as I want, and it’s none of your damned business how many I own!
That sentiment applies just as equally to the government, it’s none of their damned business how many guns I own, or what type guns I own. If they fear me having guns then it must mean that they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing; for if they were doing the job they were established to do they wouldn’t have anything to fear from people like me.
You gun grabbing nutcases have absolutely no idea how dangerous the idea is of disarming the entire public; as if that were even remotely possible. The only thing preventing our government from going full blown tyranny on your ass is the fact that there are a lot, and I mean A LOT of guns out here that would quickly be pointed at their heads if they did.
Like it or not, we are the watchdogs for your liberty just as much as we are for our own liberty, and if we have our teeth pulled, then who will be there to protect and defend your rights; the cops? If you believe that, you deserve to have your rights taken from you. The cops are gonna follow orders like they always do; they will enforce whatever laws they are told to enforce, and if you don’t believe that you’re more naive than I thought you were.
As much as I despise Joseph Story for aligning himself with the proponents of a strong central government and a loose interpretation of the restrictions imposed upon it, he did get one thing right. In his Commentaries on the Constitution Story writes, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
And if that isn’t perfectly clear as to its meaning, then I give you this from Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Smith, “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms….The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
You people need to stop bowing down to tyrants, while at the same time begging for those tyrants to take away your only means of defending your liberty. If we’re not already there, we’re awful close to what Patrick Henry warned would happen if they adopted the system of government outlined by the Constitution, “The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? ”
I’m sorry if my patriotic leanings make you uncomfortable, but at the same time I don’t really care if they do. I refuse to bow down to tyrants, and I damn sure won’t support any measure that limits or restricts my ability to defend my person, my property, and my liberty; and that’s what all these ridiculous gun control laws do.
If you want to bow down and live as slaves, so be it; you have my blessing. Just don’t ask me to join you, and don’t ask me to come rescue your ass when the chains of servitude become unbearable; you made your cake, NOW EAT IT AND SHUT THE HELL UP!