It may seem utterly impossible, but a fairly decent ruling regarding the Second Amendment came from a California court this week. The San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals actually ruled that private citizens can challenge state and local gun laws under the Second Amendment.
Jokingly referred to as the Ninth “Circus” Court of Appeals for its historically horrendous opinions (it’s one of the most overturned appeals court in the nation), it is stunning to read the majority opinions in the case, Nordyke v. King. The majority opinions read more like a historical chronology of gun rights produced by the National Rifle Association than a decision from a decidedly liberal court.
Tracing the fundamental right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms, from William Blackstone through current law, the court found:
“…the right to keep and bear arms is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.’ Colonial revolutionaries, the Founders, and a host of commentators and lawmakers living during the first one hundred years of the Republic all insisted on the fundamental nature of the right. It has long been regarded as the ‘true palladium of liberty.’ Colonists relied on it to assert and to win their independence, and the victorious Union sought to prevent a recalcitrant South from abridging it less than a century later. The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed fundamental, that it is necessary to the Anglo-American conception of ordered liberty that we have inherited.”
The Ninth Circuit ruling relied heavily on District of Columbia v. Heller, once again affirming the victory for Second Amendment rights in last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling.
The Nordyke case was a lawsuit filed by gun show promoters challenging the constitutionality of an Alameda County ordinance prohibiting gun shows on county property, including the local fairgrounds. The overall ruling of the court was not a victory for the gun show operators. The court found that “the Ordinance before us…does not directly impede the efficacy of self-defense or limit self-defense in the home. Rather, it regulates gun possession in public places that are County property.”
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