Only a few weeks after a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared California’s ban on gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds unconstitutional, the a three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has deemed a similar ban in New Jersey to be permitted under the Second Amendment.
This is the second time that the 3rd Circuit has ruled in favor of the ban, and this time it came in the case Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs v. Attorney General of New Jersey.
In its ruling, the court concluded that such a ban, “does not burden the core Second Amendment guarantee, for five reasons: (1) it does not categorically ban a class of firearms but is rather a ban on a subset of magazines; (2) it is not a prohibition of a class of arms overwhelmingly chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home; (3) it does not disarm or substantially affect Americans’ ability to defend themselves; (4) New Jersey residents can still possess and use magazines, just with fewer rounds; and (5) it cannot be the case that possession of a firearm in the home for self-defense is a protected form of possession under all circumstances. By this rationale, any type of firearm possessed in the home would be protected merely because it could be used for self-defense.”
Unfortunately, the true meaning of the Second Amendment isn’t ever addressed in the decision, that being the right to own the same arms as the military to defend oneself from a tyrannical government. Instead, the court chose to nitpick around the fringes of the issue on whether normal-capacity magazines that come standard with many firearms can legally be owned by New Jersey residents.
The two judges choosing to uphold the law were Judge Kent A. Jordan and Judge Jan Richards Roth. Jordan was nominated to the court in 2006 by President George W. Bush. Roth was nominated to the court in 1991 by President George H. W. Bush.
For his part, Judge Paul Matey, the newest member of the court nominated by President Donald Trump just last year, wrote in dissent that “the record does not show the State reasonably tailored the regulation to serve its interest in public safety without burdening more conduct than reasonably necessary. First, the State rests on the ambiguous argument that ‘when LCM equipped firearms are used, more bullets are fired, more victims are shot, and more people are killed than in other gun attacks.’ … Perhaps, but this still begs the question of whether a 10-round limit on magazine capacity will affect the outcomes of enough gun attacks to measurably reduce gun injuries and death.”
Interestingly, Judge Kenneth Lee wrote of the recent 9th Circuit decision, “California’s near-categorical ban of LCMs strikes at the core of the Second Amendment—the right to armed self-defense. Armed self-defense is a fundamental right rooted in tradition and the text of the Second Amendment. Indeed, from pre-colonial times to today’s post-modern era, the right to defend hearth and home has remained paramount. California’s law imposes a substantial burden on this right to self-defense.”
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.