For the past decade the case of Nordyke v. King has been working its way through state and federal court. At issue is a 1999 Alameda County, California ordinance banning the possession of firearms on county-owned property, a law enacted primarily to keep gun shows out of the county fairground. Promoters Russell and Sallie Nordyke challenged the law, arguing that it was an unconstitutional infringement on the Second Amendment. In April 2009, the couple combined defeat with victory when a 3-judge panel of the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that while the fairground ban was permissible, it was also high time that the 9th Circuit recognized that the Second Amendment was "indeed fundamental" and therefore applied to both the federal government and to state and local governments.
That ruling created a split among the federal circuits and forced a constitutional showdown. In January 2009, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion joined by future Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, held that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states. Thus the stage was set for the Supreme Court's landmark 2010 ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, which held that the Second Amendment did indeed apply to state and local governments via the 14th Amendment.
Now we enter what's likely to be the final chapter of the Nordyke saga. Yesterday the 9th Circuit announced that it would rehear the case en banc, which means that a full panel of 9th Circuit judges will hear the case. This doesn't mean the Nordykes will prevail, of course. In fact, it's likely they will lose, since the Alameda County ordinance seems to fall so comfortably within the range of acceptable gun control laws spelled out by Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), a list which includes "laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."
But however the case turns out, Nordyke has earned its place in the legal history books.
Correction: The 9th Circuit made its announcement yesterday, not today. Also, I made some minor edits for clarity.