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Case reaffirms local communities’ right to craft gun regulation is consistent with Second Amendment.
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence arranged pro bono legal defense and filed briefs supporting the city.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the leading source for policy information on gun legislation, applauds the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for upholding a California district court’s decision in the case of Fyock v. Sunnyvale. The case concerned the City of Sunnyvale’s 2013 ballot measure, also known as Measure C, to ban possession of deadly large capacity ammunition magazines, with the Ninth Circuit ruling that plaintiffs in the case would be unlikely to prove that Measure C violated the Second Amendment.
Measure C, which passed with an overwhelming 66 percent of the vote, sought to close a loophole created by the 2004 expiration of the federal ban on possessing large capacity ammunition magazines (defined as magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition). The State of California has banned the manufacture and sale of these dangerous magazines since 2000.
The NRA-backed case against Sunnyvale, a small city outside San Jose, featured arguments from high-profile Supreme Court litigators, failed to convince the Ninth Circuit that local regulation of large capacity ammunition magazines infringes on the Second Amendment. The court’s decision is the latest in a series of legal defeats for the gun lobby, including last week’s decision by a federal court upholding California’s groundbreaking Unsafe Handgun Act, which, among other safety measures, requires handguns sold in the state to incorporate microstamping technology that will help solve gun crimes.
In its ruling on Measure C, the Ninth Circuit noted that Sunnyvale presented evidence showing that the use of large capacity magazines “results in more gunshots fired, results in more gunshot wounds per victim, and increases the lethality of gunshot injuries.” The city also presented evidence demonstrating that these magazines “are disproportionately used in mass shootings as well as crimes against law enforcement.”
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, formed in the wake of an assault weapons massacre at a law firm in San Francisco—where the shooter used several large capacity ammunition magazines—praised the court’s decision. “We are thrilled that the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court decision,” said Juliet Leftwich, the Law Center’s legal director. “Large capacity ammunition magazines are used to kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time and simply have no place in civilian hands.”
The Law Center secured the well-respected firm of Farella Braun + Martel to serve as pro bono counsel for Sunnyvale, and also filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in the litigation. The Law Center provides free assistance to state and local governments nationwide seeking to adopt the smart gun laws that save lives.
The Law Center’s unparalleled team of legal experts is immediately available for interviews on the Sunnyvale case, the Unsafe Handgun Act, or the hundreds of gun bills being introduced at the federal and state level this legislative cycle.
Learn more about the Law Center’s legislative analysis and litigation work at at smartgunlaws.org
About the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Founded in the wake of the July 1, 1993, assault weapon massacre at 101 California Street in San Francisco that left eight dead and six wounded, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is now the premier resource for legal expertise and information regarding state and federal firearms laws. We track and analyze gun laws in all 50 states, file amicus briefs in Second Amendment cases across the country, and work with lawmakers and advocates to craft and promote legislation that will reduce gun violence and save lives. We regularly partner with other nonprofit organizations dedicated to combating the epidemic of gun violence in our country, and we invite you to explore our website, smartgunlaws.org, to learn more about our work.