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Gun rights plea denied

Wednesday 5:01 p.m.   Justice Kennedy on Wednesday afternoon denied, in a brief order without explanation, the request to block enforcement of the Sunnyvale ordinance limiting the size of ammunition-containing “magazines” in that California city.  Below are earlier posts about this application.


FURTHER UPDATED Wednesday 4:10 p.m.   The city of Sunnyvale and its officials urged the Court to deny the application.  Limits on gun magazine capacity have been a part of state law in California for fourteen years, and thus Sunnyvale merely added a provision against continued possession of larger magazines, the brief in response argued.


UPDATED Tuesday 10:25 a.m.   Justice Kennedy has called for a response from the city of Sunnyvale and local government officials.  It is due by 3 p.m. Wednesday.


Six Californians asked the Supreme Court on Monday to block a city ordinance banning gun ammunition-holders (“magazines”) that contain more than ten bullets, while that limit is being tested in an appeal in federal courts.  The application in Fyock v. City of Sunnyvale (docket 13A918) can be read here; the filing includes lower court orders.

Sunnyvale, with a population of about 150,000, is a Silicon Valley community near San Jose; it is home mainly to high-tech companies and defense contractors.  At issue in the case is a city ordinance adopted last November by city voters with more than a sixty-six-percent majority.

U.S. District Judge Ronald M. Whyte of San Jose refused last week to block enforcement of the ban, as did the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit also did so.  The application asking for an injunction pending appeal was filed with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who handles such pleas from the states in the geographic area that is the Ninth Circuit.  Kennedy has the authority to act on his own, or to share action with his colleagues.  No action seems likely until there is an answer to the plea.

The application argued that the restriction on gun magazine sizes interferes with the Second Amendment right to have a gun for self-defense.  The ordinance went into effect in December.

Judge Whyte, in refusing to prevent enforcement of the Sunnyvale ordinance, said that a right to have a magazine of greater than ten rounds “lies at the periphery” of the Second Amendment, and can be restricted in the interest of public safety.  He concluded that the challengers were not likely to succeed in a final ruling on the validity of the ordinance.

“Magazines having a capacity to accept more than ten rounds are hardly crucial for citizens to exercise their right to bear arms,” the judge commented.

Recommended Citation: Lyle Denniston, Gun rights plea denied, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 12, 2014, 5:01 PM),