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May 17, 2016

NSSF Statement on Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion In Teixeira v. Alameda County


The National Shooting Sports Foundation has long maintained that the lawful commerce in firearms is protected by the Second Amendment, that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to make, buy and sell them.

So, we are heartened by the majority opinion of the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Teixeira v. Alameda County, brought by three individuals seeking to operate a federally licensed firearms retail business in Alameda County, California. These individuals challenged, based both on the Equal Protection clause and the Second Amendment, a zoning ordinance that did not permit the opening of such a business within 500 feet of a residential zone.  The district court dismissed plaintiffs’ Equal Protection and Second Amendment claims, resulting in this appeal.

The panel found “[i]f ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’ is to have any force, the people must have a right to acquire the very firearms they are entitled to keep and to bear.  Indeed, where a right depends on a subsidiary activity, it would make little sense if the right did not extend, at least partly, to such activity as well.”  Further, the court reasoned that “[o]ne cannot truly enjoy a constitutionally protected right when the State is permitted to snuff out the means by which he exercises it; one cannot keep arms when the State prevents him from purchasing them.”  Upon this logic, the court held that the county offered nothing to rebut the “conclusion that the right to purchase and sell firearms is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and bear arms.”

Congratulations to the plaintiffs, including the Second Amendment Foundation for its support of this case.