PA, MD say that states can restrict sale of large-capacity magazines “because they are not commonly used in self-defense”

01 December 2023- Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown has joined a coalition of 17 other Attorneys General supporting California’s efforts to restrict the capacity of firearms magazines within its borders. The coalition filed an amicus brief yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court, arguing that California’s prohibition on the possession and sale of large-capacity magazines is consistent with the Second Amendment to the Constutution. 

“There is no justification for large-capacity magazines in the hands of everyday citizens,” said Attorney General Brown. “These devices that pose a threat to our communities are more suitable on the battlefield. I am committed to keeping common-sense restrictions in place on these deadly devices.

The case, Duncan vs. Bonta, concerns the constitutionality of a California law that allows for possession and sale of firearms magazines that accept up to ten rounds of ammunition, but prohibits larger capacity magazines (LCM). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California issued a preliminary injunction against California’s LCM ban, and California has appealed the decision. The Ninth Circuit has stayed the lower court’s preliminary injunction while it considers California’s appeal granted, allowing the law to remain in effect for now.  

In the brief, the coalition argues that California’s large-capacity magazine law is a constitutionally permissible restriction because:  

  • To encourage public safety, states can and do impose restrictions on dangerous weapons, accessories, and ammunition that pose a threat to communities
  • Large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are not “Arms,” and they are not commonly used or suitable for self-defense
  • California’s law is consistent with a historical tradition of regulating and imposing restrictions on new and distinctively dangerous forms of weaponry

In submitting the brief, Attorney General Brown joins the Attorneys General Andrea of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, New Jersey New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.