Alameda County Defeats Gun Show Operator's Second Amendment Challenge to County Firearms Ordinance

June 2012

Today Alameda County won its long-fought court battle in Nordyke v. King, successfully defeating a gun show operator's challenge to a County ordinance regulating firearms possession on County-owned property. The Nordykes challenged the ordinance in 1999, claiming it infringed their constitutional rights because of its impact on their gun shows on the County Fairgrounds. In today's decision by an eleven judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, the Court found that "[n]o matter how broad the scope of the Second Amendment - an issue we leave to another day - it is clear that, as applied to Plaintiffs' gun shows and as interpreted by the County, this regulation is permissible."

The Court acknowledged the exception in the ordinance that allows possession of unloaded firearms at events on the Fairgrounds provided the firearm is secured when not in the immediate possession of an authorized participant in the event. The District Court had ruled that the exception is broad enough to encompass gun shows, if conducted in compliance with the exception, and the County so interpreted the exception. The Ninth Circuit found this interpretation reasonable and that the ordinance minimally regulates gun shows. Finding that "Plaintiffs cannot state a viable Second Amendment claim," the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision dismissing all constitutional challenges to the ordinance.

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