A federal appeals court in San Francisco set aside its ruling Wednesday – the only one of its kind in the nation – that allowed private citizens to claim a constitutional right to bear arms in challenging state and local gun laws.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new hearing on a challenge by gun show promoters to a ban on firearms at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The plaintiffs say the ban, which county supervisors enacted in 1999, violates free speech and the constitutional right to possess guns.
A three-judge panel of the court ruled in April that the Second Amendment is binding on state and local governments and allows individuals to challenge a county ordinance as a violation of the right to guns.
“The right to bear arms is deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the republic,” Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain said in the 3-0 ruling.
But the court also said the Alameda County law was a valid public safety measure.
The gun show promoters prepared to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. But Wednesday, the full appeals court said a majority of its judges had called for a new hearing before an 11-judge panel, nullifying the April ruling.
Plaintiffs' lawyer Don Kilmer said the hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 21 in San Francisco.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns and struck down a ban on handgun possession in the federal enclave of Washington, D.C. That ruling did not say whether the amendment also applied to the states.
The Ninth Circuit ruling conflicted with decisions by federal appeals courts in New York and Chicago that concluded the Second Amendment applies only to the federal government.