California County Finally Permitting Gun Shows

Posted: Jun 02, 2012 8:20 AM

After years of legal drama, a California county is changing its ordinance that bars firearm possession on county property. This change will allow gun shows to be held in Alameda County, albeit with tight controls. After Alameda county made the revision, the 9th Circuit Counrt of Appeals ruled that the ordinance is constitutional. From the Sacramento Bee:


A years-long showdown over the right to bear arms in California's Alameda County appeared to end Friday after officials agreed to allow tightly restricted gun shows on government property.

A special, 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the county's revised interpretation of the gun show ordinance makes it constitutional. That ordinance allows gun dealers to sell their wares on county property so long as the guns are unloaded and attached by a sturdy cable to a display table.

The county had previously used the 1999 ordinance to ban gun shows altogether, and Russell and Sallie Nordyke, a Glenn County couple and promoters of TS Gun Shows, filed a lawsuit.

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For those not familiar with the case, Nordyke v. King, it has been going on forever. Well before anyone had heard about DC v. Heller (the Supreme Court case affirming that the Second Amendment protects individual rights), gun show promoters Russell and Sallie Nordyke were challenging Alameda County's 1999 ordinance banning firearms on public property. In 2009, the 9th Circuit actually affirmed that Second Amendment rights are incorporated through the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, but ruled against the Nordyles anyway, deciding that ordinances banning firearms in 'sensitive' public places are acceptable. The case was reheard after the Supreme Court decided in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment applies to state governments, but the Nordykes lost again. Finally, during the third round of oral arguments, Almeda County argued that gun shows are permissible, so long as the guns are not loaded and are secured to a table.

Because of the change in Alameda County's argument, the Ninth Circuit hasn't actually had to decide whether the original ordinance violated the Constitution. While it would have been nice to have the judges affirm the Second Amendment, for now it is a victory that the ordinance has changed at all.