Sunnyvale Wins Guns Rights Showdown – For Now

Sunnyvale’s ban on possession of large-capacity magazines for ammunition will continue to be enforced while a challenge is fought out in court, a federal appeals court panel ruled Wednesday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals upheld a trial judge’s denial of a preliminary injunction against the ordinance restricting the ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds.

In the wake of a series of mass shootings around the country, Sunnyvale sought to improve public safety and in November 2013 asked voters to approve a measure banning possession of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.  The measure went into effect in December 2013.

Leonard Fyock and several other Sunnyvale residents challenged the city’s voter-approved Measure C as a violation of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

While the dispute was being fought out before U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte in Oakland, Fyock sought an injunction to block enforcement of the law.l  Whyte refused and Fyock appealed.

The appeals court found that while restricting possession of some types of magazines burdened conduct protected by the Second Amendment, Sunnyvale’s interest in promoting public safety and reducing violent crime trumped that interest at least for the purpose of an injunction.

Sunnyvale presented sufficient evidence to show that the ordinance was likely to survive the level of scrutiny required by the law, according to Judge Michael Daly Hawkins or the panel.

“Measure C is simply not as sweeping as the complete handgun ban at issue in Heller  [a reference to the Supreme Court case that struck down a complete ban] and does not warrant a finding that it cannot survive constitutional scrutiny of any level,” Hawkins wrote.


Case: Fyock v. City of Sunnyvale, No. 14-15408


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