“Counties may restrict the location of gun stores as long as residents have the ability to purchase firearms, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday.
An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging an Alameda County zoning ordinance that barred firearm sales near residential neighborhoods, schools, day-care centers, other firearm retailers and liquor stores.
The 9-2 decision overturned an earlier ruling by a three-judge 9th Circuit panel, which said the county had to justify the restriction. If the zoning amounted to a ban on new gun stores, it was likely to violate the Constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, that panel decided 2 to 1 last year.
In Tuesday’s ruling, the court said the 2nd Amendment does not create a commercial right to sell guns, as long as law-abiding people are not deprived of keeping arms in their homes.
“Alameda County residents may freely purchase firearms within the county,” wrote Judge Marsha S. Berzon, a Clinton appointee, for the en banc panel. “As of December 2011, there were 12 gun stores in Alameda County.”
“Gun buyers have no right to have a gun store in a particular location, at least as long as their access is not meaningfully constrained,” the court said.
The case, backed by several gun groups, was brought by individuals who sought a permit for a gun store in an unincorporated part of Alameda County.”