A trio of gun rights organizations has asked the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to review their challenge of an Alameda County, California zoning ordinance that effectively bans gun stores.
The writ of certiorari was submitted by the Second Amendment Foundation, the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, the Calguns Foundation, Inc., and three businessmen, John Teixeira, Steve Nobriga and Gary Gamaza. They are represented by Virginia attorney Alan Gura and California attorney Don Kilmer.
Fox News recalled that this is the latest move in a lawsuit that was originally filed in 2012. Alameda County prohibits the operation of a gun store within 500 feet of areas that include residential zoning districts. Teixeira, Nobriga and Gamaza had wanted to open a gun shop in San Lorenzo, but under the ordinance, they found that an impossible task. They are claiming that the zoning violates their Second Amendment rights.
“You simply cannot allow local governments to ignore the Second Amendment because they don’t like how the Supreme Court has ruled on the amendment twice in the past ten years,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb observed. “You shouldn’t be able to zone the Second Amendment out of the Bill of Rights.”
Plaintiffs won their case before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but that was reversed following an en banc hearing before the full appeals court. Now the case is being appealed to the high court.
“You shouldn’t be able to zone the Second Amendment out of the Bill of Rights.”—Alan M. Gottlieb, SAF
“Local neighbors who live eight lanes across an interstate and the anti-rights politicians that cater to them can’t redline gun stores and the right to buy arms out of existence,” noted Gene Hoffman, chairman of the Calguns Foundation. “Since this case was filed multiple local city and county governments have used unconstitutional zoning laws to stop new gun stores from opening and close down existing gun stores. If this was a book store or an abortion clinic, the Ninth Circuit would not have hesitated in striking this zoning regulation unanimously.”
“The Supreme Court declared that the Second Amendment was not a second-class right, but lower courts are ignoring that and holding otherwise—and so far, they’ve been getting away with it. We hope this case gets individual liberty back on track,” added Brandon Combs, executive vice president of the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees.
“The federal courts exist, in part, to protect fundamental rights that might not be popular in certain jurisdictions,” said California attorney Kilmer, who represents the plaintiffs. “Today, in the Ninth Circuit, those are gun rights. Tomorrow, who knows? One question presented by this case is whether our rights are subject to only one Constitution, or do those rights change from state to state?”
The Washington Free Beacon noted that the high court “has been reluctant to take on gun cases” since it ruled on the 2008 Heller case and 2010 McDonald case, both of which nullified municipal gun bans. Coincidentally, both of those cases were argued by Gura, the other attorney representing the plaintiffs in this case.
Both Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch have criticized the court for not taking another Second Amendment case in more than seven years. The Free Beacon revealed that during this period, SCOTUS has considered “roughly 35 cases where the question presented turned on the meaning of the First Amendment and 25 cases that turned on the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.”