Although the gun control lobby and their willing accomplices in local governments are working overtime to strip law-abiding citizens of their constitutional rights, a federal court ruling stating that the Second Amendment is “not a second-class right” is an important victory that gives hope to civil rights groups and gun owners.
In the decision issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Monday, the Court held that the Second Amendment right of gun purchasers extends to protect gun retailers from being shut out of an area.
In the case of Teixeira, et al. v. County of Alameda, the plaintiffs challenged an Alameda County ordinance that a new gun store must be located at least 500 feet away from any residentially zoned district, elementary, middle or high school, pre-school or day care center, another firearms sales business, or places where liquor is sold or served.
The plaintiffs, who were attempting to open a gun store in San Leandro, chose a site they believed fit the criteria. The county used different measuring guidelines (using from outside wall to outside wall instead of front door to front door) than plaintiffs and denied a conditional use permit. As part of their appeal, they conducted a scientific study that included a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) study of each parcel in Alameda County and determined that there are no parcels within the county that meet the ordinance’s requirements.
That, plaintiffs argued, effectively constitutes a ban on the opening of gun stores and an infringement of Second Amendment rights – and the Court agreed.
Writing for the majority, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain held:
“[The] right of law-abiding citizens to keep and to bear arms is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees…
“If the right of the people to keep and bear arms is to have any force, the people must have a right to acquire the very firearms they are entitled to keep and to bear. Indeed, where a right depends on subsidiary activity, it would make little sense if the right did not extend, at least partly, to such activity as well….Alameda County has offered nothing to undermine our conclusion that the right to purchase and to sell firearms is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and to bear arms.”
Exactly. A right cannot exist only on paper. Imagine if there were no polling places in your county or state and no ballots mailed to citizens. Would you still have a right to vote? Or would your inability to exercise that right effectively render it moot?
In addition to Teixeira and his business partners, Calguns Foundation, Inc., the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, and the Second Amendment Foundation were named plaintiffs. In response to the decision, CAL-FFL President Michael Baryla noted that “the Second Amendment can only be exercised if law-abiding people are allowed access to firearms and ammunition. This win is one more reminder that access to firearms is, in fact, an integral part of the core right.”
Brandon Combs, executive director of the Calguns Foundation, said, “The Court appropriately reminded the County that civil rights can’t be outlawed through piles of regulation. We look forward to securing Second Amendment rights through this case and many others to come.”
Read more here.
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