(San Francisco) – Three Second Amendment civil rights groups are hailing a new Second Amendment decision issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today. The opinion, issued this morning in the case of Teixeira, et al. v. County of Alameda, held that the Second Amendment right of gun purchasers extends to protect gun retailers from being shut out of an area.
Under the challenged Alameda County ordinance, 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.
But, according to a scientific study conducted by the plaintiffs that included a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) study of the entirety of Alameda County, 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.
“We’re very happy to see the Court take a very principled and reasoned approach to protecting the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms,” said Brandon Combs, executive director of The Calguns Foundation.
“Given California’s legal requirements to use licensed dealers for firearm transfers and background checks, it’s important that retailers are able to open their doors—and keep them open.”
Today’s decision was clear that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect second-class rights.
Writing for the majority, Judge O’Scannlain held that 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.”
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.”
Concluded Combs, “Today, 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.”
Plaintiffs on the case include three individuals who seek to open a new gun store in Alameda County. They were joined by gun rights groups The Calguns Foundation, California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, and the Second Amendment Foundation.
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