Alameda County, California includes cities such as Oakland, Pleasanton, and Berkeley. It also plays fast and loose with its zoning laws and how they interpret distances. John Teixeira and some associates wanted to open a gun store in an unincorporated area of Alameda County back in 2012. The zoning law there forbids gun stores within 500 feet of a residence, school, or liquor store. Teixeira met those requirements and was given a conditional use permit and variance from his local zoning board of adjustment. Then the Alameda County Board of Supervisors decided to change how distance was measured for zoning purposes. Thus, a survey of all empty lots showed that Teixeira could not meet the “new and improved” standards anywhere in the unincorporated areas of the county.
What the county did was institute a variant of “redlining”. In this case it was used to ban gun stores. In the past it was used to make sure that blacks and other minorities were restricted to living in certain areas. Both are a violation of civil rights.
Given this, Mr. Teixeira sued and was joined in his suit by the Second Amendment Foundation, the California Association of Federal Firearm Licensees, and the Calguns Foundation along with two other individual plaintiffs. The case was lost in US District Court but was initially a win before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I’m sure you can guess the rest of the story. The anti-gun judges of the 9th Circuit forced it into an en banc hearing in which they agreed with the District Court and negated the win.
Yesterday the plaintiffs in the case filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court asking for a writ of certiorari. The attorneys on the case are Don Kilmer and Alan Gura. The brief can be found here.
The plaintiffs issued the following statement of the appeal:
Supreme Court Asked to Review Alameda County Gun Store Ban
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2018) – Attorneys for three civil rights advocacy organizations and three individuals have filed a petition seeking United State Supreme Court review of a controversial 2017 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld an Alameda County, California law effectively banning gun stores within the unincorporated area of the county. A copy of the petition (and other case documents) can be viewed at https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/teixeira.
The lawsuit, first filed in 2012, challenged a county ordinance that prohibits gun stores from being located within 500 feet of places that include residentially zoned districts. But, according to a scientific study conducted by the plaintiffs that included a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) evaluation of all parcels in Alameda County, there are no lots within the unincorporated county that meet the ordinance’s 500-foot-rule requirements.
On appeal, the plaintiffs won before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit. But that opinion was vacated and reversed following an en banc rehearing before the full appeals court. Now the case is being appealed to the nation’s highest court.
“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,” noted Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “You shouldn’t be able to zone the Second Amendment out of the Bill of Rights.”
“Local neighbors who live eight lanes across an interstate and the anti-rights politicians that cater to them can’t redline gun stores and the right to buy arms out of existence,” noted The Calguns Foundation’s Chairman, Gene Hoffman. “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 book store or an abortion clinic, the Ninth Circuit would not have hesitated in striking this zoning regulation unanimously.”
“The Supreme Court declared that the Second Amendment was not a second-class right, but lower courts are ignoring that and holding otherwise—and so far, they’ve been getting away with it. We hope this case gets individual liberty back on track,” added California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees’ founder and Executive Vice President Brandon Combs.
“The federal courts exist, in part, to protect fundamental rights that might not be popular in certain jurisdictions,” noted California attorney Don Kilmer, who represents the plaintiffs. “Today, in the Ninth Circuit, those are gun rights. Tomorrow, who knows? One question presented by this case is whether our rights are subject to only one Constitution, or do those rights change from state to state?”
Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is joined in the case by California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (CAL-FFL), The Calguns Foundation (CGF), and three businessmen, John Teixeira, Steve Nobriga, and Gary Gamaza. They are represented by Virginia attorney Alan Gura and California attorney Don Kilmer.