SAN FRANCISCO (September 30, 2016) — Today, attorneys for Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and five other pro-Second Amendment groups filed a legal brief urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject a petition to rehear a gun rights case that resulted in a ruling that the Second Amendment protects the right to sell firearms to law-abiding people.
The lawsuit, Teixeira v. County of Alameda, seeks to strike down as unconstitutional a county ordinance that bans gun stores within 500 feet of any residentially zoned district, school, day care center, any other firearms sales business, liquor stores, or bars.
In May, a panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed an order by federal District Court Judge William Horsley Orrick III, holding that the district court should not have simply dismissed the case. The opinion, penned by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, said that heightened scrutiny should be used in evaluating whether or not the ordinance banning gun stores was an infringement of Second Amendment rights. “The problem is that the district court failed to explain how a gun store would increase crime in its vicinity. The court instead simply accepted the County’s assertion without exacting it to any scrutiny…”
In the brief, attorneys for the civil rights groups argued that “[the Ninth Circuit panel decision] is consistent with Supreme Court precedent holding that the government cannot restrict constitutional rights indirectly by controlling the means necessary to exercise those rights.” Among others, it cited Supreme Court cases which struck down restrictions on distributing contraceptives because it “impose[d] a significant burden on the right to use contraceptives” as well as a differential tax on paper and ink products consumed by publishers because it burdened rights protected by the First Amendment.
FPC was joined in the “friend-of-the-court” brief by a number of other notable civil rights organizations, including Gun Owners of California (GOC), Golden State Second Amendment Council (GS2AC), Madison Society Foundation (MSF), San Diego County Gun Owners PAC (SDCGOPAC), and Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A).
Earlier today, Firearms Policy Foundation joined with prominent Law Professors Randy Barnett (Georgetown University Law Center), Robert J. Cottrol (George Washington University Law School), Brannon Denning (Cumberland School of Law), Michael O’Shea (Oklahoma City University School of Law), and Glenn Harlan Reynolds (University of Tennessee College of Law) in filing a brief also arguing that the Ninth Circuit decision protecting gun stores should stand. That brief can be viewed or downloaded at www.firearmsfoundation.org/teixeira.