Ninth Circuit Backs Client Alameda County in Major Second Amendment Case

October.10.2017

In a closely-watched Second Amendment case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc with 11 judges, today upheld a California county’s zoning restrictions on gun sales in a ruling backing the legal arguments of an Orrick appellate team.

The decision rejected a challenge to an Alameda County zoning ordinance that prohibits firearms sales within 500 feet of residentially zoned districts, schools and day care centers, liquor stores, and other gun stores. The 9-2 decision overturned a Ninth Circuit panel decision last year reinstating a lawsuit challenging the Alameda County ordinance.

Led by partner Bob Loeb and senior associate Brian Goldman, who argued the case, the Orrick team represented the county through the en banc process. The court relied heavily on the arguments raised by our team regarding how courts should evaluate regulations of firearms sales under the Second Amendment.

The court explained that the plaintiffs had not “plausibly alleged that the County’s ordinance impedes any resident of Alameda County who wishes to purchase a firearm from doing so.” The court further found that plaintiffs “cannot state a Second Amendment claim based solely on the ordinance’s restriction on his ability to sell firearms. A textual and historical analysis of the Second Amendment demonstrates that the Constitution does not confer a freestanding right on commercial proprietors to sell firearms.”

In addition to Bob and Brian, the team included senior counsel Tom Bondy and managing associate Naomi Mower, with assistance from law clerks Marnee Rand and Rosie Gorn.