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For 12 long years*, Alameda County which includes Oakland and Berkeley, has had an outright ban on firearms on county property. Russell and Sallie Nordyke, promoters of TS Gun Shows had operated gun shows on the Pleasanton fairgrounds until 1999 when the county enacted the gun show ban. That’s when the Nordykes challenged the ban on Second Amendment grounds. What’s finally changed after 12 years to resolve the issue? It’s wasn’t the court’s ruling, but a reversal on the part of Alameda County . . .

Specifically, county lawyers agreed that the Nordykes could hold their gun shows if, for example, weapons were tethered to tables by “a sturdy cable,” allowing buyers to “physically inspect properly secured firearms.”

As for the county’s restrictions, the 9th Circuit found that, “as applied to the plaintiffs’ gun shows, and as interpreted by the county, this regulation is permissible.”

The County’s “interpretation” of the regulation is, at best, highly suspect, given that the actual wording of the regulation is a blanket ban on firearms on county property with a list of exceptions that does not include – by any stretch of the imagination – gun shows or weapons tethered to tables. Call me skeptical, but I’ll believe a gun show will actually be held at the fairgrounds when I see it.

The 9th Circuit case was expected to be a key legal test of the scope of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings establishing that the Second Amendment applies to state and local gun regulations. In the end, not so much. The court dodged that aspect of the case.

“Should the county add new requirements or enforce the ordinance unequally, or should additional facts come to light, (the Nordykes) or others similarly situated may, of course, bring a new Second Amendment challenge,” the court wrote. “But in the present case, they cannot succeed.”

While this is a clear victory for the Nordykes and other gun show promoters and participants, I’m disappointed that the 2nd Amendment issue wasn’t settled. However, I’m sure the issue will arise in California again before too long.

*Those 12 years saw this case batted between Superior and Appellate Courts like a ball in doubles tennis. Part of the reason for that was that the rulings in Heller and McDonald were issued and had to be considered in this case.

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  1. Step 1, Give them permission to have a gun show
    Step 2, Call the ATF about the gun running going on at the fairgrounds
    Step 3, Rejoice in the big win for gun-banners

  2. Is this the same Alameda county that allows the Mythbusters to shell nearby residential neighborhoods with civil war era cannon from their bomb range?

    • Well, strictly speaking, no they didn’t allow that. That was well outside teh scope of what they gave permission to do.

      I see your point about inequality under the law, however. All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

      • I love the show and I think that their firearms related myths are, at the very least, entertaining. But the special treatment that they get from the county has always bugged me a little bit. I suppose they do probably pay some pretty serious taxes considering how popular their show had become. So you could say that they are just getting their money’s worth from Alameda county.

    • You also have to realize they run a special affects business too. Their employees have explosives licenses and all sorts of stuff, especially when it comes to off list and access to things you probably couldn’t get anywhere else.

  3. Specifically, county lawyers agreed that Best Buy could sell computers if laptops were tethered to tables by “a sturdy cable,” allowing buyers to “physically inspect properly secured internet browsing devices.”

    Just thought I would type it to see how it looked.

  4. Good. Incrementalism moving in the right direction. They’ll be located close to the new billion dollar+ Oakland Bay Bridge span that was outsourced to China. The construction could have created thousands of jobs in California and America.

  5. I’m disappointed that the 2nd Amendment issue wasn’t settled

    girlswithguns, I’m not disappointed by the court’s decision. No court should ever decide anything that’s not necessary for it to decide. That’s what judicial restraint is all about — restraint. In this case, the county rolled, and presumably the Nordykes got what they wanted. The court need not and should not go further.

    The infamous Warren Court was an “activist court.” It decided whatever it felt like deciding, making up the most absurd crap as it went along. Remember the “emanations and penumbras” of the Court’s “Substantive Due Process” cases? What utter mumbo-jumbo that was. We’ll be paying for the Warren Court’s excesses for a hundred years.

    The era of the activist court is over; at least I hope it is. There will be plenty of 2A cases in the near- and long-term, and plenty of opportunities to do what’s right. Meanwhile, let’s chalk this case up as a win.

    • I totally agree that it’s best that the court didn’t decide more than the immediate question that was before it. There was no certainty that, had the county not changed its “interpretation,” the court would have ruled in favor of the Nordykes and the 2nd Amendment, it just would have been nice.

      Bacon is nice too.

      I hope you’re right about the end of the activist court.

  6. There ar three more cases in the pipeline, all fully briefed and waiting for the Ninth to lift a stay imposed because of Nordyke. Peruta v. San Diego, Byrd v. Los Angeles, and Richards. All three challenge California’s “may issue” system of CCW on 2A grounds. All three raise the standard of review question. I anticipate that the Ninth will adopt a intermediate review standard rather than strict scrutiny, as have the other circuits. The real question to me, though, is what does intermediate scrutiny mean? So far, the trial courts have applied a supposed intermediate scrutiny test that accepts “public safety” (without any showing as to least restrictive alternatives and without any proof that public safety is actually served) as sufficient to support the may issue system. In Peruta, for example, the district court held that as long as California allowed SOME method of carry (which at the time was CCW or unloaded open carry), “may issue” passed scrutiny, notwithstanding the unlimited discretion allowed the sheriffs in determining what was “good cause” for issuance. (Importantly, unloaded open carry is now unlawful.) In Byrd, a suit by a lawyer who was denied in both the county and the city, the trial court upheld the defendants’ claim that “more guns equals more crime” as a sufficient excuse for limiting the issuance of CCWs, and granted summary judgment for defendants, notwithstanding the fact that there is absolutely no study ever performed supporting this belief, and further notwithstanding the fact that there was a direct conflict in the expert testimony (usually a basis sufficient in and of itself to deny a motion for summary judgment).
    The Maryland Supreme Court applied an equally relaxed standard in upholding its state’s ban, a standard some could say is indistiguishable from “rational basis.” The 7th Circuit in Ezell seems to have adopeted a stricter standard of review, as did the federal trial court in Maryland (Wollard) that held that Maryland’s “good cause” system was constitutionally unsound.

  7. 12 YEARS???

    This was deliberate deprivation of not only constitutional rights but the ability to conduct business and make a living, hundreds perhaps thousands of times over.

    Gosh I wonder why they caved????

    There are probably millions of reasons. If government can do this to you it can do anything and there is no longer rule of law but only rule of men.

    • Mmm, not so much. The ban applied only to County owned property. And even the various appellate decisions recognized that, as with commercial speach, commercial activities are subject to greater regulation.

  8. I still cannot understand the legal or rational basis that says no guns or no whatever they decide are allowed on “COUNTY OWNED” property. Who is the county? The taxpayers who bought and paid for the facilities are the true “county”. It wouldn’t be much different from saying cars are not allowed on COUNTY property. And the ridiculous restrictions of having to secure all guns to the table and the buyer will have to decide whether or not to buy on not much to go on. Taking this a step further, what happens to the gun AFTER the customer decides to buy it? Call a security guard, put the gun in a lock box (furnished by the customer of course) and escort the buyer off the countyowned property to his vehicle. And by the way, it could be possible for the buyer to violate one or more laws by putting the newly purchased firearm in his car, even in a locked box. I sense that the rules about this part of it are yet to be announced. Frankly, I don’t see how the Nordykes can ever make any money under these conditions. It will be a surprise to me if anybody signs up for tables. I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this.

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