California Gun Store Ban? SAF Asks Supreme Court to Review

SAF Asks SCOTUS to Review California Anti-Gun Zoning Case

When they lost the McDonald v. City of Chicago case -- reaffirming the Second Amendment individual right to keep and bear arms, even in the Windy City -- Mayor Rahm and the mob that runs that town didn't take the loss well. They were angry that they couldn't ban individuals from owning and carrying firearms any more. So instead, they enacted ordinances that made it virtually impossible to open a gun store or shooting range within city limits. It was their modest effort at a back door concealed carry ban.

Why did the city want to shut down shooting ranges? In response to the McDonald case, the council had passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to have at least one hour of range training. The range ordinance was an effort to make sure no one could get the required training.

The courts, though, took a dim view of the city's ploy and, in 2011, struck it down. What's a dedicated anti-gun city government to do? Try, try again, of course. Why not? They were using taxpayer dollars to fight their losing battle, so it cost them nothing.

In response to that loss, the city passed a new ordinance. Described by the Seventh Circuit as “an elaborate scheme of regulations,” the range ordinance was so restrictive that only 2.2 percent of the city’s entire acreage was “even theoretically available” for a gun range. Moreover, the court noted, “the commercial viability of any of these parcels” was so questionable “that no shooting range yet exists in the city of Chicago.”

But the transparent restrictions were struck down yet again when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ordinances “severely limited Chicagoans’ Second Amendment right to maintain proficiency in firearm use via target practice at a range.” So the city finally threw in the towel.

Next stop in the never-ending fight: one of the new contenders for most anti-gun jurisdiction in the nation, Alameda County, California. They had enacted their own law prohibiting gun stores from being located within 500 feet of a residential neighborhood. Same basic tactic as Chicago, different location.

Enter the Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns. They sued the county over the law -- and won -- but had their victory reversed when the case was heard by the full Ninth Circus. Nothing unusual for the most political and second-most overturned (80%) court in the land. As SAF stated in a press release announcing the appeal to the Supreme 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 SAF 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 Gene Hoffman, chairman of the Calguns Foundation. "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."

So local governments are thumbing their noses at the McDonald decision. Which means the only way to stop them -- especially in states where the Ninth Circus holds sway -- is for the SCOTUS to slap them down. Is that something that's likely to happen given the high court's recent reticence about Second Amendment cases? Maybe not until another justice retires, making the outcome of a 2A case more certain. In the mean time, we'll be watching.

About Dan Zimmerman 22 Articles
Born and raised in St. Louis, Dan is now a happy Texan, living in the Live Music Capital of the World. He’s been shooting guns for the last 25 years and writing about them for the last eight or so. While he finds pistols and rifles lots o’ fun, it’s shotguns that have always really floated his boat. He’s happiest breaking clays but has become a fan of duck and pheasant hunting, too.

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