November 10, 2018


Californians Tried to Protect Themselves From a Mass Shooting Like Thousand Oaks: A court wouldn't let them. (MARK JOSEPH STERN, NOV 09, 2018, Slate)

U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, blocked Proposition 63 in June 2017. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later declined to lift his injunction. In his ruling, Benitez declared that the law "is a poor fit as a means to eliminate the types of mass shooting events experienced in California." He insisted that high-capacity magazines are "an incredibly rare danger to public safety."

"Of the ten mass shooting events that occurred in California," Benitez wrote, "only two involved the use of a magazine holding more than 10 rounds." He reasoned that the law was a "poor fit" as means to increase public safety. And he concluded that, as a result, Proposition 63 likely cannot survive constitutional scrutiny.

Benitez expressly discounted a Mother Jones survey that found that half of 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012 involved magazines with more than 10 rounds. He ignored another study that found that high-capacity magazine shootings produced 60 percent more fatalities. And he overlooked the fact that mass shootings in Virginia fell when the state banned high-capacity magazines, only to rise once more when the ban was lifted.

The shooting illustrates how illogical, how callous to human life our Second Amendment jurisprudence has become.
But leave that data aside and consider the situation in California. Benitez wrote that "only two" mass shootings in the state had theretofore involved high-capacity magazines. Only two? These massacres were the 2013 Santa Monica shooting, which killed five civilians, and the 2009 Oakland shooting, which killed four police officers. You might expect these tragedies to influence the court's reasoning. But Benitez insisted that it wasn't entirely clear whether Proposition 63 would've kept these shooters from obtaining high-capacity magazines. And the "marginal good effects" the law might've had--that is, the lives it might have saved--didn't justify the ban.

What interests lie on the other side of this dispute? Gun advocates claimed that they need high-capacity magazines to defend themselves. But an expert witness hired by the state found that an average of 2.2 shots were fired in self-defense situations. Between 2011 and May 2017, just two of the 736 incidents examined involved an individual firing more than 10 rounds in self-defense.

Posted by at November 10, 2018 7:10 AM