On Monday, September 26, 2022, Judge Roger T. Benitez proved once again that he is ten steps ahead of the California government and its anti-gun leaders when he re-issued his ruling to protect “traditional” magazine owners from prosecution.
If you have been following the “merry-go-round” that has been the life of Duncan v Bonta (formerly Becerra), it’s entirely possible that you have been confused.
Let’s break this down:
Initially, the case of Duncan v Becerra (ban on 10+ round magazines which originated from legislation and an initiative) went before Federal District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez. He said that it violated the text, history and tradition of the Second Amendment using the test that Justice Scalia established in Heller v DC and was therefore unconstitutional. Knowing that the crazy 9th would use a different standard, Benitez ruled that it would still be unconstitutional regardless of what standard was used.
This opened what became known as “Freedom Week” where Californians legally purchased between one and two million magazines.
California threatened to appeal the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, so Judge Benitez issued an order staying his decision from going into effect until all legal proceedings were completed, thus preventing the California government from banning any “Freedom Week” magazines.
The 9th assigned the case to a 3-judge panel who agreed with Judge Benitez that the mag ban was unconstitutional.
Angered by this defeat, the State immediately asked for an 11-judge en banc panel who as expected, reversed the previous pro 2A decisions and sided with the State.
The pro-gun forces – which included Gun Owners of California – appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). SCOTUS kept the case alive pending their decision in NYSRPA v Bruen. Once the court declared that the only rule that lower courts can use to test Second Amendment challenges, that being text, as informed by history and tradition and nothing else, the court accepted the case (granted Certiorari which means it could be heard), then vacated the anti-2A decision of the 9th Circuit and remanded the case back to them, with the instructions to reconsider the case with the new one-step standard.
At this point, the 9th Circuit en banc panel could have reversed its decision and declared the mag ban unconstitutional. Of course, they did not. Instead, they returned the case to Judge Benitez who had already declared the law unconstitutional.
Is your head swimming by now?
In doing so, the 9th essentially “erased” Judge Benitez’ original decision and directed him to start from scratch.
Given this turn of events, we are confident the State of California had been preparing to begin the confiscation of magazines and enforcing the ban because forcing Benitez start from scratch meant that his original order that protected “Freedom Week” magazine buyers from prosecution was no longer in place.
As we’ve said time and time again, Judge Benitez doesn’t pussy-foot around; he was one step ahead of the gun mag grabbers, and re-issued his order protecting magazine owners from prosecution by the state.
Bottom line? We are free to own, possess and in many cases use our 10+ magazines (as long as they are not used on “California Compliant Semi-Autos”).
What happens next? The entire convoluted process is set to begin again, but with one huge difference: lower courts MUST follow the rules for deciding Second Amendment case as established by the Supreme Court in the Bruen decision. This changes everything. Both SCOTUS and Judge Benitez have come to the rescue, not only of citizens who abide by the law, but of the Constitution itself.