“You shouldn’t be able to zone the 2nd Amendment out of the Bill of Rights.”
Businessmen and gun rights advocates filed a 2nd Amendment petition with the Supreme Court to overturn a zoning law in Alameda County, California that bans gun shops from operating within 500 feet of a residential area.
Entrepreneurs John Teixeira, Steve Nobriga and Gary Gamaza attempted to open a gun shop in the city of San Lorenzo, but were met with hostility from an archaic law prohibiting the opening of the store near a residential area. They have been joined by Calguns Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees in the lawsuit.
They argue that this zoning law is clearly an attack on the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution. Mr. Teixeira’s store would have been 446 feet away from two residential areas, 54 feet under the 500-ft requirement. With the nearest residences being “neighbors who live eight lanes across an interstate” according to Calguns chairman, Gene Hoffman.
They initially won the suit in 2016 thanks to a three-judge panel, 2-1 decision, of the 9th Circuit which ruled that Alameda County had restricted the businessmen’s 2nd Amendment freedoms.
Unfortunately, their case hit a snag in October 2017 when a federal Court of Appeals made the controversial decision to uphold the zoning law, claiming that it did not violate the plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights.
Judge Marsha Berzon (a Clinton appointee) said at the trial, “Gun buyers have no right to have a gun store in a particular location, at least as long as their access is not meaningfully constrained.”
“The Second Amendment commands that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,’” Judge Berzon wrote in the opinion for the Circuit court. “That language confers a right on the ‘people’ who would keep and use arms, not those desiring to sell them.”
However, you cannot “keep and bear” something that cannot be sold or bought. Zoning gun sellers out of existence, by default, would make a citizen’s ability to access them “meaningfully constrained.”
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This prompted the group to file a petition with the Supreme Court in hopes that this infringement on their rights would be overturned.
Gene Hoffman, chairman of the Calguns Foundation, said in a statement:
“Since this case was filed multiple local city and county governments have used unconstitutional zoning laws to stop new gun stores from opening and close down existing gun stores. If this was a bookstore or an abortion clinic, the Ninth Circuit would not have hesitated in striking this zoning regulation unanimously.”
Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb explained, “You simply cannot allow local governments to ignore the Second Amendment because they don’t like how the Supreme Court has ruled on the amendment twice in the past ten years.” He added, “You shouldn’t be able to zone the 2nd Amendment out of the Bill of Rights.”