Via SF Gate:
Alameda County supervisors have asked a federal appeals court to dismiss a challenge by gun groups to the county’s zoning restrictions on gun stores, arguing that the constitutional right to own firearms doesn’t include a right to sell them wherever you want.
The county’s 1998 ordinance prohibits new gun shops in unincorporated areas within 500 feet of a residential neighborhood, a school, a day care center, a liquor store or another gun shop. According to court filings, 17 other cities and counties in California restrict the locations of commercial gun dealers, including San Francisco — which has a 1,000-foot buffer zone — as well as Oakland and Contra Costa County.
In May, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco voted 2-1 to revive a lawsuit challenging the ordinance and said the county, to justify the zoning restrictions, must provide evidence that “gun stores act as a magnet for crime.”
Last week, the county urged the full appeals court to grant a rehearing before an 11-judge panel, and contended the previous ruling had overstated the scope of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
“There is no Second Amendment right to open a gun store in the location of one’s choice without adherence to local zoning regulations,” said attorney Robert Loeb, representing Alameda County and its Board of Supervisors. He said there were 11 gun stores in the county, including four in unincorporated areas outside city limits.
But lawyers for gun store applicants and advocacy groups supporting their cause said their experts concluded that the ordinance put all remaining unincorporated areas of the county off limits for new dealers.
“We are challenging an ordinance that doesn’t appear to have any public-safety justification,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Donald Kilmer, said Monday. “We’re dealing with a fundamental right.”
The case tests the commercial implications of the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that declared an individual right to possess firearms for self-defense.
The appeals court upheld Alameda County’s regulation of gun shows at the county fairgrounds in 2012 after the county dropped its ban on the display of weapons at the shows and allowed them to be securely fastened to exhibit tables. Another federal appeals court struck down a ban on private firing ranges in Chicago in 2011.
The current suit was filed by three businessmen who wanted to open a gun store near San Leandro that was rejected by county supervisors because it was 446 feet away from a residential neighborhood on the other side of Interstate 880. The suit, joined by the Calguns Foundation and other groups, contends that the 500-foot buffer violates the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
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