Thousand Oaks Shooting: Federal Court Blocked Law That Would Have Made Shooter's High-Capacity Magazine Illegal

Two years ago California voters approved a statewide proposition that made the high-capacity magazine used in Thursday’s Thousand Oaks shooting illegal. But a federal judge blocked that law along the way.

Sheriff Geoff Dean said the gunman, Ian David Long, shot up the Borderline Bar and Grill with a Glock 21 — a .45-caliber, semi-automatic handgun. Dean didn’t elaborate on the capacity of the extended magazine used by Long, who allegedly killed 12 people while others were injured before Long died at the scene.

"The weapon was designed in California to hold a magazine of 10 rounds and one in the chamber, but he had an extended magazine on it," Dean said in the USA Today.

Magazines that can hold up to 26 and 40 rounds can be purchased online for the gun used by Long, the report said.

California law has prohibited magazines with a capacity of higher than 10 rounds since 2000. However, there was a grandfather loophole that stated anyone who owned a higher-capacity magazine before the law was legally able to use them, per the USA Today report.

The current proposition surfaced in 2016 in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, and California voted to limit the sale or possession of all magazines that held 10 rounds or more.

Gun control advocates aid the law was inefficient because of the lack of way to determine when and where magazines were purchased, or grandfathered in. The new law required gun owners to either alter their magazines or get rid of them.

The California Rifle & Pistol Association filed a lawsuit that said the new law was unconstitutional. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction pending the resolution of the lawsuit.

Adam Skaggs, who is chief counsel for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said Long most likely got his hands on the high-capacity magazine illegally because the 28-year-old wouldn’t have been old enough to purchase it before the 2000 law was passed.

"It just confirms the serious safety risks that these magazines entail," Skaggs said. "When someone is forced to stop and reload it creates an opportunity to escape. It creates an opportunity to try and disable the shooter. That's why restricting access to these is so important in terms of making mass shootings less deadly."

Gun rights advocates claim the government can’t be the sole overseer of all violent acts, and it’s a slippery slope to tiptoe the Second Amendment.

"Once more we see the devastating effects of the illusion of safety that gun control laws and policies are founded upon," the Firearms Policy Coalition said in a statement Thursday. "Gun control proponents like Gavin Newsom, California’s incoming governor, are irrationally committed to passing more and more laws that just do not prevent violent people from doing evil things."

California has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. Anyone who wished to purchase a handgun in the Golden State, or is given one, is required to get a state-issued firearm safety certificate. These come with a $25 fee and must be renewed every five years.

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