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'Unconstitutional' Connecticut gun-control law prompts Second Amendment lawsuit

Several gun rights organizations filed a lawsuit last week against a draconian law enacted by Connecticut legislators in 2013.

Enacted not too long after the Dec. 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 28 dead, the law instituted “an expansion of Connecticut’s assault weapon ban, background checks for all gun and ammunition sales, a new registry of existing high capacity magazines and a ban on the sale of magazines holding more than 10 bullets,” as reported by NPR.

In a suit filed last Tuesday, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL), the Second Amendment Foundation and two gun owners specifically zeroed in on the provision concerning the sale and use of magazines holding more than 10 bullets.

“The plaintiffs are challenging the prohibition on Connecticut residents that makes it illegal to load more than 10 rounds of ammunition into lawfully owned magazines that can hold more. The plaintiffs assert that this prohibition imposes an unconstitutional burden on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” CCDL announced in a statement.

The organization’s president, Holly Sullivan, added that “[f]or most Americans, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are simply considered standard capacity magazines.”

“Many firearms are not even available with magazines that hold less than ten rounds,” she said. “In Connecticut, the legislature has redefined those magazines as Large Capacity Magazines. However, many of these magazines are commonly used by most other Americans who own firearms. Law-abiding gun owners in Connecticut are left more susceptible to harm or death by being limited in their means of self-defense.”

Does the suit actually stand a chance in court, though? Based on previous rulings, yes.

Last year a federal judge struck down a similar California law, arguing that the rule infringes on local citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

“California’s law prohibiting acquisition and possession of magazines able to hold any more than 10 rounds places a severe restriction on the core right of self-defense of the home such that it amounts to a destruction of the right and is unconstitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Judge Roger T. Benitez ruled.

“California’s ban is far-reaching, absolute, and permanent. The ban on acquisition and possession on magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds, together with the substantial criminal penalties threatening a law-abiding, responsible, citizen who desires such magazines to protect hearth and home, imposes a burden on the constitutional right that this Court judges as severe.”

In justifying his ruling, he also cited the same self-defense argument posited by the CCDL.

“The magazine ban arbitrarily selects 10 rounds as the magazine capacity over which possession is unlawful. … The ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of ‘arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American citizens for the lawful purpose of self-defense,” he wrote.

That probably bodes well for gun owners in Connecticut, as the CCDL’s lawsuit also contains this argument.
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