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Ninth Circuit to Reconsider Alameda Gun Ban

By Robyn Hagan Cain on November 30, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you - or your clients - have long dreamed of packing heat on the Alameda County Fairgrounds, you could be in luck. On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to reconsider its 1999 ruling that an Alameda gun ban on county property was constitutional as long as it did not impose a “substantial burden” on the right to bear arms.

Plaintiffs Russell and Sallie Nordyke aren’t challenging the law to form a fairground militia or bring a handgun to a carnival; they just want to host gun shows at the fairground.

From 1991 to 1999, the Nordykes promoted a gun show at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Alameda banned firearms on county property after a 1998 shooting at the Alameda County Fair that injured eight people, reports the Bay City News.

While the ordinance did not specifically ban gun shows, the Nordykes insist that a gun show, without guns, is hardly a show at all.

The Nordykes sued to block the Alameda gun ban in 1999, and lost twice in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled in 2003 that the Second Amendment protected the right to own guns to maintain a well-regulated militia, but not the right to display guns at a gun show.

In May, the Ninth Circuit revisited the case and upheld the ban, applying the substantial burden standard to the ordinance. In their latest appeal, the Nordykes claim that court should use a stricter standard to analyze the constitutionality of the law.

The Nordykes previously won a challenge to a Santa Clara County restriction on gun shows at the county fairgrounds in the late '90s, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck the Santa Clara ordinance on First Amendment grounds.

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