A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is weighing an attempt by the National Rifle Association to overturn Sunnyvale's voter-approved ban on firearms magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
The NRA has argued that Sunnyvale's law, passed a year ago, infringes on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The organization lost preliminary rounds in the legal fight when U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte refused to grant a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the law and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block the law pending appeal.
NRA attorney Erin Murphy, representing a group of Sunnyvale gun owners, told a three-judge panel on Monday that the Second Amendment protects ownership of large magazines.
"Once something's within the scope of the Constitution, you can't flatly prohibit it and that's what this law does," Murphy told judges Michael Hawkins, Johnnie Rawlinson and Barbara Lynn. She called the ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition an "extreme measure."
Attorney Roderick Thompson, representing Sunnyvale in the case, noted that voters approved the law after several highly publicized mass shootings involving firearms with large-capacity magazines. He argued the ordinance simply fills a gap in an existing state ban on selling, making and transporting magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.