Some additional good news on the gun rights front comes to us from an unexpected location this week… California. The Ninth Circuit Court was asked to rule on a “zoning ordinance” in Alameda County which would have placed severe restrictions on the opening of any new gun shop if it was within 500 feet of a wide variety of other types of structures. As Kerry Picket reports at The Daily Caller, the wording of the majority opinion drew a line in the sand regarding the sanctity of the Second Amendment. (Emphasis added)
The plaintiffs in the case included three individuals who wanted to open a new gun store in Alameda County. They were joined by pro-Second Amendment groups: The Calguns Foundation, California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, and the Second Amendment Foundation.
“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,” concluded Brandon Combs, executive director of The Calguns Foundation. “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.”
Writing for the majority, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain said 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…”
The tactic being employed by anti-Second Amendment forces in Alameda County was in keeping with many others we’ve seen around the country, but the gun grabbers are clearly getting more clever in their efforts to undermine gun rights. This scheme was cloaked in the mundane sounding guise of a typical zoning ordinance, but they had done their homework to create a lethally poisonous pill in the details. Restricting the licensing of a gun shop in close proximity to a school is nothing new, but this one layered on many more boundaries. Under the new rule, gun merchants would be forbidden from opening their doors within 500 feet of any residentially-zoned district (i.e. anyplace with a house or an apartment building), a school, pre-school, day care center or anyplace where alcohol was sold. That last one included not just bars, but any convenience store or other outlet where you could purchase a six-pack of beer.
How can we tell this was an intentional dodge around the law? Once a map of the country was parsed along those lines there wasn’t a single lot available which would have met the criteria. The ordinance would have effectively banned the opening of any gun shop anywhere in the county without coming out and explicitly saying so. That’s what sets this ruling apart from others we’ve seen in the past. Second Amendment opponents have grown increasingly clever over the years in finding ways to get around the Constitution and this ruling will hopefully shut down these types of efforts in the future.