Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Responses To The Nordyke Decision

Two California gun rights organizations, the CalGuns Foundation and Cal-FFL, released statements on the 9th Circuits decision (finally after 13 years) in Nordyke v. Alameda County. That case challenged the ban on gun shows by Alameda County at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The decision can be read here.

The response from CalGuns Foundation:
San Carlos, CA (June 4, 2012) – In an astonishing eleventh-hour about-face, the County of Alameda’s “sweeping concessions” in open court to allow gun shows at the Alameda County Fairgrounds was accepted by the Ninth Circuit in its opinion for Nordyke v. King, released on Friday.

As was noted in a concurring opinion by Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, the County’s representation at oral arguments that Plaintiffs could, in fact, now hold gun shows at the Fairgrounds, “change the game.”

“While it’s certainly fantastic that the Nordykes are once again able to have gun shows on Alameda County property, it’s clear to us that the County was willing to stop at nothing to dodge the Second Amendment bullet,” explained Calguns Foundation chairman Gene Hoffman.

“The Calguns Foundation is eager to see gun shows – long standing in our history and protected under the Constitution - at suitable public venues across the state of California. We stand ready to ensure that the rights of gun owners to gather and trade in self-defense arms are respected in every locale. California state law already severely regulates gun shows and these additional local requirements are solely an attempt to go beyond regulation into prohibition.”
And from Cal-FFL which is a newer organization representing California firearms dealers, range owners, collectors, and training professionals:
Madera, CA (June 4, 2012) – In a decision holding that “the County now concedes that [gun shows] can be held with firearms present and available for meaningful physical inspection by potential buyers,” the Ninth Circuit has settled a thirteen-year lawsuit between the County of Alameda and plaintiffs Russell and Sallie Nordyke, owners of TS Trade Shows, who operated gun shows at the Fairgrounds until the County enacted the gun show ban ordinance in 1999.

“Gun shows are important opportunities for firearms dealers, manufacturers, and buyers to connect with each other under one roof,” said Cal-FFL president Brandon Combs. “These events offer people the chance to browse thousands of products in the fast-growing self defense marketplace at one time, rather than being limited to the inventory of one or two area stores.”

While avoiding the question of how the Second Amendment might apply to gun shows, the court said in its opinion that “[s]hould the County add new requirements or enforce the ordinance unequally…. Plaintiffs or others similarly situated may, of course, bring a new Second Amendment challenge.”

“California gun dealers and manufacturers rely on gun shows to educate thousands of people over the course of a weekend,” Combs explains. “Cal-FFL looks forward to helping the Nordykes, other promoters, and our federal firearms licensee members succeed in holding gun shows at county fairgrounds and similar public places throughout the state.”


  1. This Nordyke case was a disaster for the so-called gun rights organizations supporting it. It calls into serious question the judgment and competence of those who claim to be leading the judicial fight in California.

    Sadly, rather than recognize their mistakes, these leaders instead resort to the most disingenuous bluster by claiming absolute victory in the face of near complete defeat. Their behavior proves once again that these individuals are far more interested in their positions, power and public image than actually succeeding in court.

  2. Cite please?

    What exactly did you expect in terms of magical change in 2A jurisprudence in California from a narrow case about gun shows being banned by a single county on public property when private property venues remained available?

    The narrow question was "Could the county ban them?", the narrow answer, "No." To claim that as a "failure" is as wrong-headed as those who felt Heller was a "failure" because the Court (gasp) ruled on the narrow question at hand of "carry within the home" and didn't make Constitutional Carry the law of the land or something.

    I swear some pro-gun people look for reasons to bitch rather than accepting that we are in a long-term campaign to turn back a long-term erosion of gun rights; that there won't be a "magic bullet" court case.

    What this ruling that, essentially, bans are not allowable (which is what the County avoided by accepting secured guns) does is open the door for Peruta to proceed which, based on the reasoning of the trial judge, stands a decent chance of getting rid of either the open carry ban in Cali or the may-issue carry restrictions.

    1. Nordyke wasn't litigated for twelve years over the narrow question “Could the County ban gun shows?” To suggest so now shows either willful ignorance or blatant prevarication.

      Go back and review the published proclamations of the various California-based gun rights organizations that were supporting Nordyke. Prior to McDonald, it was heralded as the vehicle for Second Amendment incorporation. Afterwards, it was anointed as the case that would settle the “tiered scrutiny” debate. And when the second panel opinion introduced its substantial burden test, Nordyke was hailed as the case that would create a circuit split (with Ezell) and become the third gun case to reach the Supreme Court. In point of fact, Nordyke has repeatedly been held out as the “‘magic bullet’ court case.”

      And while all of this was happening, every other gun rights case in the Ninth Circuit was stayed. But that didn't stop these same gun rights organizations from repeatedly telling their supporters that “shall issue” carry was coming to California no later than June 2012, and that other outlier regulations (like our handgun roster, assault weapons ban, magazine capacity restrictions, etc.) would fall soon, too. Of course, just like you, they, too, insisted that every delay and bad decision was the fault of judges who hated the Second Amendment. Never, ever, could any setback possibly be self-inflicted!

      For most of the country, the long-term looks good for self-defense rights. States and localities which already respect these rights are repealing bad laws and instituting new protections. Outright bans — whether of handguns or public carry — are probably gone for good.

      But California was Ground Zero for a more sophisticated form of anti-gun zealotry: here, pro bono attorneys cleverly wrote onerous regulations instead of prohibitions. Unfortunately, California's gun rights litigators have so far refused to acknowledge this critical distinction. And, not surprisingly, they have yet to win a single important case. Blind support (like yours) only enables their continued failure — and the adoption of California-style regulation wherever self-defense rights are under assault.

    2. It's always a pleasure to read the gems that are proffered on the Internetz when people virulently snipe from behind their "Anonymous" moniker.


    3. No good points can be made by someone unless they reveal their identity. Otherwise their arguments make no sense and the reasoning is just completely unsound!

    4. LOL. Just shocking there was no response to this.

    5. Yeah, no kidding. Why face up to your own mistakes when it's much easier to assassinate the character of anonymous critics?

  3. "And, not surprisingly, they have yet to win a single important case"

    Although those litigators haven't, the NRA's civil rights attorneys certainly have.

    See, for example, Fiscal v. City and County of San Francisco, which struck down the City's hangun ban pre-Heller, and in doing so substantially bolstered CA's implied preemption doctrine in the context of firearms laws. And Parker v. CA, which struck down one of the most controversial pieces of gun control legislation, AB 962, on constitutional vagueness grounds. And the NRA filed probably the best case to address the standard of review issue, Jackson v. San Francisco. That case was stalled by SF's obstructionist motions, and I believe the NRA defeated all of them and now has a substantive merits motion pending if I'm not mistaken.