November 21, 2022
Unless courts rule in the next month that Rhode Island’s new ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds is unconstitutional, Ocean State gun owners are going to have to dispose of their currently owned mags soon.
Under a measure passed back in June, those who already own magazines or weapons that hold more than 10 rounds will have until Dec. 15 to comply with the law by either permanently altering the weapon so it can no longer hold more than 10 rounds, forfeiting it to their local or state police, or transferring or selling it to a federally licensed firearm dealer or person outside the state who is lawfully entitled to own or possess it. The bill provides exceptions only for current and retired law enforcement officers and active duty military or National Guard members.
At the time of the passage, the Firearms Policy Coalition, an organization dedicated to fighting unconstitutional gun laws in the courts, blasted the magazine bill, along with two other anti-gun measures passed at the same time.
“Governor McKee has spectacularly failed the people of Rhode Island,” the organization said in an email alert. “These draconian measures run roughshod over the most fundamental rights of the people. By denying Rhode Islanders standard magazines—which became standard because of their immense utility in defending and preserving human life—restricting the ability to bear arms, and wholesale eliminating the rights of legal adults, these laws do nothing but make clear the naked contempt the government of Rhode Island has for the security and well-being of its people.”
After passage of the magazine ban, attorneys for Bear Hunting and Fishing Supply Store in Harmony, Rhode Island, along with several Rhode Island gun owners, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court under the grounds that the new law violates their constitutional rights. The complaint argues that banning magazines that were already bought, sold, used and possessed legally is "a physical appropriation of property" that is unconstitutional. It further states that the new law amounts to "direct governmental taking of private property without providing just compensation."
The lawsuit also argues: “Banning magazines over 10 rounds is no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles. To the contrary, the only thing the ban ensures is that a criminal unlawfully carrying a firearm with a magazine over 10 rounds will have an advantage over his law-abiding victim.”
Under the new law, those who don’t dispose of their magazines or weapons holding more than 10 rounds face severe penalties. Anyone still in possession of an outlawed magazine after Dec. 15 could face up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.
About the Author
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 over 20 years.