AR-15 assault rifle with magazines
An AR-15 assault rifle with magazines of different capacities. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A U.S. appeals court said on Thursday it will reconsider its decision that California’s ban on high-capacity magazines violates the right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside a decision made last August by a divided three-judge panel against the ban on magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition. An 11-judge panel will now consider the case.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lee, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, had written for the majority that the 2017 ban may have been “well-intentioned” following a spate of “heart-wrenching and highly publicized mass shootings,” but that it infringed the constitutional right to armed self-defense.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, who sought a rehearing, said the law advanced public safety while preserving gun owners’ ability to defend themselves. Becerra also said the panel’s decision conflicted with the five other federal appeals courts to consider the issue, and well as the 9th Circuit’s own precedent.

President Joe Biden has nominated Becerra to serve as U.S. secretary of health and human services.

Lawyers for gun owners opposed to a rehearing said the state’s “draconian” ban would strip law-abiding people of magazines they have owned without incident for decades.

Becerra’s office and lawyers for the gun owners did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lower court judge had stayed the lifting of the ban pending the state’s appeal.

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