Vindicating the Second Amendment: A Pioneering Gun Rights Case Comes to a Close

The final chapter of a trailblazing Second Amendment lawsuit appears to have been written. Yesterday a full panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued its decision in Nordyke v. King, upholding an Alameda County, California gun control ordinance regulating gun shows at the county fairgrounds. The case first originated more than a decade ago when gun show promoters Russell and Sallie Nordyke filed a Second Amendment challenge against the county’s 1999 ban on the possession of firearms on county-owned property, a law enacted primarily to prevent any guns from being sold at the fairgrounds. The Nordykes’ suit didn’t really pick up steam until 2008, however, when the U.S. Supreme issued its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban and ruled definitively that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, not a collective one, to keep and bear arms.

One issue Heller did not address was whether the Second Amendment also applied to state and local governments. In April 2009, a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit pushed that issue into the spotlight with a decision in the Nordyke’s case. Although the 9th Circuit voted to uphold the Alameda County gun law, the court also declared that the time had come for the Second Amendment to be enforced against the states. “The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed fundamental,” wrote Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain. “We are therefore persuaded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment and applies it against the states and local governments.”

Because a different federal appeals court, the 2nd Circuit, had ruled in January 2009 that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states (in an opinion joined by future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor), the Supreme Court was left with no choice but to step in and resolve the split among the circuits. The Court did so in its landmark 2010 ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, which struck down the Windy City’s handgun ban and ruled that the Second Amendment did indeed apply to the states via the 14th Amendment.

Which brings us back to the Nordykes. In the course of all this litigation, Alameda County decided to modify its 1999 law, finally permitting fairground gun sales so long as the guns aren’t loaded and various other safety measures are followed. In its ruling yesterday, the 9th Circuit found these new regulations to be constitutional. So while the Nordykes lost repeatedly at earlier stages in their case, they ultimately succeeded in their bid to bring gun shows to the county fairground. And more important, they played a crucial role in advancing Second Amendment rights throughout the country. The Bill of Rights stands on a stronger footing thanks to their efforts.

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  • Untempered Individualist||

    I'm glad I stuck with this post to the end.

  • ||

    Gun shows in CA must be a blast. No magazines over ten rounds, no 50 cals, no grenades, no phase plasma rifles in a 40 watt range, etc.

  • ||

    Don't enormous numbers of cops also troll gun shows in California? That must blow, too.

  • LarryA||

    Actually, I've never been to a gun show without a lot of cops attending. Of course most of them are off-duty and friendly.

  • juris imprudent||

    Used to be great, but the state - like a python - squeezed the life out of them.

  • ||

    You ever go to Washington Arms Collectors gun shows in Puyallup and Monroe, sage? I tend to buy all my guns at those, as the deals are the best.

  • ||

    I bought a mini 14 at the Puyallop one years ago. It's like Disneyland for killing machines. Love it.

  • ||

    The Bill of Rights stands on a stronger footing thanks to their efforts.

    ------------------------------

    It appears so because there is insufficient support for further restriction or prohibition. In other words, that's the case because the mob has not yet turned against the 2A, not because it's a fundamental, natural right guaranteed protection in the Constitution. And that makes it discretionary. And that's terrible.

    Maybe I'm just not seeing the additional text through my ideological filter monocle, but I can't find where the Second Amendment permits exceptions.

  • ||

    Only "appears" was meant to be italicized, but fuck these tags, man.

  • Tulpa the White||

    The first amendment permits public safety exceptions (death threats) and justice system exceptions (perjury). And weapons are much more easily turned against those purposes than speech is, so it's reasonable to have some exceptions, so long as the core right to bear arms is not infringed. Sorry if you want anti-aircraft artillery on your roof and a nuke in your basement, but that's the way it is.

  • Alex||

    The first amendment permits public safety exceptions (death threats) and justice system exceptions (perjury).

    Do you just make this shit up as you go?

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Neither of your "exceptions" are mentioned in the First Amendment.

  • Tulpa the White||

    So you think perjury and death threats are protected by the 1st?

  • Alex||

    I can read. Your positive claim to such exceptions permitted by the First Amendment is verifiably false, and that you or some judges think such exceptions "reasonable" does nothing to change that fact.

  • Tulpa the White||

    So you think perjury and death threats are protected by the 1st?

  • robc||

    Perjury and death threats arent protected by the 1st because perjury and death threats arent free speech. However, there are no exceptions to the 1st for free speech.

  • ||

    Yep. Here's 2A:

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    No exceptions.

  • Tulpa the White||

    As stated above, if we take the literalist POV then the 1st protects perjury and death threats. Which would be a ridiculous situation; clearly the framers didn't intend that interpretation. So you have to read between the lines and note that specific, demonstrable, and unusual threats to public safety and the functioning of the justice system are not protected by the 1st and 2nd.

    Also note that a really literal reading of the 1st amendment can't possibly apply it to state governments, since none of their laws are made by a body called "Congress" to begin with. So the literalism sword cuts both ways.

  • shamalam||

    "Also note that a really literal reading of the 1st amendment can't possibly apply it to state governments, since none of their laws are made by a body called "Congress" to begin with."

    True, but the 14th fixed that.

  • Tulpa the White||

    It did? How? Did it rename all the state legislatures "Congress"?

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    True, but the 14th fixed that.

    It did? How? Did it rename all the state legislatures "Congress"?

    Section 1. ... No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

  • ||

    Stop making me miss MNG.

    "and unusual threats to public safety and the functioning of the justice system". So, basically the explicit purpose of the 2A. Making sure the government has just as much to fear from us as we do from them.

  • ||

    It's obvious stuff, and I don't get why it's so hard for so many people.

  • ||

    It's not that hard for Tulpa, he just doesn't care.

    If you argued that the Sun rose in the East, he would do his best to put together a scholarly proof that "no, no, that's all wrong".

  • ||

    Could you please go impale yourself on an ocotillio you spineless fuck?

  • Pi Guy||

    I've never owned a gun in my life and still feel compelled to yell "From my cold dead hands!!!"

    Freedom: 1
    Statists: Fuck off!

  • ||

    You're missing out, dude. Do you live in a particularly hoplophobic state?

  • GroundTruth||

    That would be my excuse, living in the People Republic of Massachusetts.

  • Pi Guy||

    OMD, yes - MD.

    In contrast to most here, I'm recovering democrat so have had to learn to appreciate 2A via my redneck (this is truly a term of endearment) friends in rural PA introduced me. Even without carrying, I fully recognize that I'm actually safer if enough people are packing, as you all know, then everyone's a little more wary of firing the first shot.

    Even still, I have to admit that I'm looking into it more and more.

  • sloopyinca||

    I've often wondered how many California laws I'm breaking without knowing it with the guns I have owned since before I moved here. I'm afraid to find out.

  • ||

    Be careful Sloopster, those are admissions by a party opponent or verbal acts. And in the self felating world of legal reasoning, they can fuck you.

  • ||

    You know, john and Ron Jeremy are a lot alike. They can both suck their own cock. The one difference is that John has to use ButtPaste, http://buttpaste.com/ , because he sucks his own cock so much.

  • ||

    Wouldn't he need DickPaste®, then?

  • sloopyinca||

    Completely OT: Banjos and I went to see this movie last night at a special screening with the director/writer, Whit Stillman. I have to say it was one of the funniest movies I have seen in a while. Has anybody else seen it? If not, I highly recommend it for 2 hours of fun.

  • ||

    So, according to Sotomayor the second amendment doesnt apply to the states. How about the first? Fifth? How about the 13th?

    What a fuckwit she is.

  • ||

    That's one of those positions that's so insidiously retarded that it causes a small mental snap in your mind when you try to make sense of it, and it takes a few seconds to recover your thoughts.

    Only those constitutional protections I like apply to the states, you see, since I'm a a wise Latina an you're a white guy. Don't be so racist.

  • ||

    Don't be such a square saltine bro.

  • GroundTruth||

    To borrow a phrase: 'Sonia, You lost me at *wise Latina*'

    Still can't believe that someone so obviously and multiply bigoted, by her own statements, can be nominated and approved to the highest court of the land!

  • ||

    Look at who nominated her and believe it. It is hard for me to believe he would nominate any other kind of person, her nomination was as predictable as the sunrise.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Actually, 4 of the SCOTUS justices took that position, not just SS.

  • ||

    To be fair, both TEAMZ have a tendency to support only those portions of the BOR they like.

  • ||

    But you're still a moron. The reference was to her decision while still on the 2nd Circuit Court. Not the SCOTUS.

  • John C. Randolph||

    The real tragedy here is that this issue even had to be litigated at all. The second amendment is perfectly clear.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Yes, it is unsettling this kind of issue was forced into litigation; most of the amendments are pretty clear but apparently they need to explain every possible situation so everyone of every mentality level can understand. This lawsuit should not have taken a decade to decide the rights of the citizens are protected by the constitution. Most citizens know their rights apparently a little more than the State and local governments because it took the Supreme Court’s rulings in other lawsuits to prove Nordyke’s point. The 144 year old amendment should not be in question because it is basic rights of the citizens that should not have been forgotten. Most things in the Constitution are pretty straight forward that is why they were worded the way they were back when people did not try to “bend” the rules. When a law states citizens have the right to bear arms, then citizens have the right to bear arms, it’s that simple.

  • ||

    Yes, it is unsettling this kind of issue was forced into litigation. This lawsuit should not have taken a decade to decide the rights of the citizens. Most of the laws and rights in the Constitution are well known and should not be in question. Most citizens know their rights but the State and local governments have over looked some of the rights. The Supreme Court’s rulings in other lawsuits helped prove/explain Nordyke’s different points in his lawsuit. The 144 year old amendment gives the citizens the basic rights to the citizens that should not have been lost or forgotten. Most things in the Constitution are worded so there is no confusion when enforcing or protecting citizen’s rights. Some people try to “bend” some rules or rights that are spelled out in the Constitution, amendments are passed to help clear up any of this confusion. The citizens were reminded the basic rights to bear arms and require the State and Local governments to enforce them are not forgotten.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Oh, great. Now blood will flow in the streets, and random killings will occur all across Kalifornia, and chaos will reign and people of good will will be afraid to leave their homes.

    Way to go, Kaleeoforneeyah!

  • Paul.||

    Wish us luck, seattle is about to embark on a new round of "challenge-proof" gun control regs.

  • Tejicano||

    Anybody notice how Chicago lost their case before SCOTUS - but still kept their law in place? It was like the case they lost was just some discussion at a bar somewhere.

    I guess that having a Daley machine product at the head of the executive branch makes it easy for them to do what they like.

  • sous vetements homme||

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