NRA Sues Sunnyvale Over Gun Magazine Limits

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On Monday, the NRA sued to block the enforcement of Sunnyvale’s Measure C, calling a ban on the possession of gun magazines holding more than 10 rounds unconstitutional. Sunnyvale gun owners have until March 6 to turn in these types of magazines to police or sell them out of state.

Beyond the constitutional concerns, the lawsuit argues that the standard capacity of many popular guns sold in the United States is more than 10 rounds.

“These are the magazines that come with the firearms when you purchase them,” Chuck Michel, the NRA’s West Coast counsel, said on KQED Forum Tuesday. “Ten rounds is an arbitrary limitation. It basically limits your ability to use a magazine for self-defense or sport.”

Sunnyvale Mayor Anthony Spitaleri sees the ordinance as taking state law one step further.

“In the state of California you’re not allowed to purchase a magazine with more than 10 rounds, but it’s not against the law to possess one,” he said on KQED Forum. “To me, if you’re not allowed to buy it, why should you have one?”

The NRA pledged to file this lawsuit even before voters passed the measure by 67 percent in November. When speaking with the San Jose Mercury News, Michel indicated the NRA hopes this lawsuit could make it the Supreme Court.

“There’s an epic legal battle for the future of the second amendment going on across the nation right now, and Sunnyvale by passing this ordinance jumped right into the middle of the fray,” said Chuck Michel, the NRA’s West Coast counsel. This case “really is, in many ways, perfect for Supreme Court review.”

Though the lawsuit takes aim at magazine limits, Measure C also requires gun owners to notify police within 48 hours of a loss or theft of a firearm, as well as keep firearms locked up when not in the owners’ possession. It also mandates that those who sell guns keep the names of the gun buyers for two years.

Here’s the lawsuit:

Fyock v. Sunnyvale Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

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  • armynod

    How is limiting magazine capacity unconstitutional. Gun owners can simply use a magazine that holds no more than 10 rounds. Why would anyone need more than a 10 round magazine?

    • pstaylor

      I would have thought the provisions in the law about how gun owners had to handle their firearms would be more objectionable and potentially unconstitutional.

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Olivia Allen-Price

Olivia Allen-Price is an interactive and engagement producer at KQED News. She has previously worked at The Baltimore Sun and The Virginian-Pilot. Talk to her about running, curly hair and playing the ukulele. Reach her @oallenprice or by email at ohubertallen@kqed.org.

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