- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

If you own an ammunition magazine that holds more than 10 rounds and you live in Sunnyvale, Calif., you can keep it — as long as you also have a second home in another city.

Otherwise, a newly approved ordinance requires owners by March 6 to sell or transfer their magazines to someone outside the city, or surrender them to licensed firearms dealers or police.

Not surprisingly, gun rights groups are taking aim at the law, known as Measure C, passed by Sunnyvale voters in November. The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking a federal judge for an injunction to stop the measure, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment.

It’s not the first attack on the city statute. Last week, the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF) filed a lawsuit against Measure C’s requirement that firearms retailers keep records on ammunition sales that include the buyer’s name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number and thumb print.


California law already bans the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds, but Sunnyvale’s ordinance goes a step further by forbidding residents from owning such magazines. Owners who refuse to give up their magazines risk having them confiscated by police, said Orange County attorney Chuck Michel.

“Banning the possession is the dream of the gun-ban lobby, as opposed to registration,” said Mr. Michel, who represents the NRA. “Sunnyvale is really crossing that Rubicon.”

Asking friends or family to store the magazines won’t work, either, he said, because that would be an illegal transfer.

“You can take them out of the city, but that’s not easy to do unless you have your own residence in another part of the state,” said Mr. Michel. “You have to have a second place to store them, because otherwise if you put them with somebody else, you’ve transferred them and you’re committing a crime.”

Sunnyvale Mayor Tony Spitaleri accused the NRA of trying to scare residents.

“They’re willing to say anything to argue their point,” said Mr. Spitaleri. “It doesn’t mean confiscation of anyone’s magazine. Under the state of California, it’s against the law to buy a high-capacity magazine, but it’s not against the law to possess one, so we want the laws to work with each other.”

A community of about 146,000 in California’s wealthy Silicon Valley, Sunnyvale isn’t known for its high rate of crime or gun ownership. The town has only two stores where firearms can be purchased.

The NSSF lawsuit was filed on behalf of U.S. Firearms, a Sunnyvale store whose owner says his customers will purchase their ammunition elsewhere rather than comply with the city’s onerous new law.

“It is unjust to ask retailers within the Sunnyvale city limits to collect sensitive personal information from customers who easily can drive a few miles to a store in another city where such information is not required,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF vice-president and general counsel, in a statement. “Surely, no demonstrable public safety benefit is achieved and only law-abiding businesses are penalized.”