Eugene Volokh discusses the issue. I’m sorry to say, because I otherwise think Eugene Volokh has made great contributions to the Second Amendment, but I really think this kind of concession is unhelpful to those of us who want a broad and meaningful Second Amendment right.
I couldn’t disagree more that such limitations are constitutional, at least as far as magazines holding more than ten rounds are commonly used and possessed by law-abiding citizens. Additionally, every state law limiting capacity exempts the police, who use them for self-defense the same as civilians do. For someone who has three intruders break into their house, and runs her magazine dry before stopping her attackers, that person’s Second Amendment right might not as well have existed at all if the state may arbitrarily limit her magazine capacity to ten rounds.
It may, under most circumstances, be a relatively light burden on the right, but I wish Professor Volokh would not concede that there’s a state interest in restricting magazine size to even balance against whatever minor burden it may place on Second Amendment rights. The very fact that police are exempted should call into question the motives in regards to enacting such legislation, which is transparently a hostility toward the concept of an armed civilian population.
We should not concede any state interest here, and then encourage the courts to take an interest balancing approach, where they analyze the burden on the right, and weigh that against the state interest. We’ve seen so far that those kinds of interest balancing approaches will always be weighed in favor of the state when Second Amendment rights are involved.
Firearms with magazine capacities over ten rounds have been commonly selected by civilians and police alike for self-defense virtually since the technology became available, more than a century ago for rifles, but more recently for handguns. It’s not the place of the courts to determine whether such preferences are rational or not. The state may simply not arbitrarily apply these kinds of limits if the Second Amendment, as a right of the people, is to have any real meaning.