563 F.3d 439 (9th Cir. 2009), 07-15763, Nordyke v. King

Docket Nº:07-15763.
Citation:563 F.3d 439
Party Name:Russell Allen NORDYKE; Ann Sallie Nordyke, dba TS Trade Shows; Jess B. Guy; Duane Darr; William J. Jones; Daryl N. David; Tasiana Westyschyn; Jean Lee; Todd Baltes; Dennis Blair, R.L. Adams; Roger Baker; Mike Fournier; Virgil McVicker, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Mary V. KING; Gail Steele; Wilma Chan; Keith Carson; Scott Haggerty; County of Alameda;
Case Date:April 20, 2009
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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563 F.3d 439 (9th Cir. 2009)

Russell Allen NORDYKE; Ann Sallie Nordyke, dba TS Trade Shows; Jess B. Guy; Duane Darr; William J. Jones; Daryl N. David; Tasiana Westyschyn; Jean Lee; Todd Baltes; Dennis Blair, R.L. Adams; Roger Baker; Mike Fournier; Virgil McVicker, Plaintiffs-Appellants,


Mary V. KING; Gail Steele; Wilma Chan; Keith Carson; Scott Haggerty; County of Alameda; County of Alameda Board of Supervisors, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 07-15763.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

April 20, 2009

Argued and Submitted Jan. 15, 2009.

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Donald E. Kilmer, Jr., Law Offices of Donald Kilmer, San Jose, CA, argued the cause for the plaintiffs-appellants and filed the briefs. Don B. Kates, Esq., Battleground, WA, was also on the supplemental briefs.

T. Peter Pierce, Richards, Watson & Gershon, Los Angeles, CA, argued the cause for the defendants-appellees and was on the briefs. Richard E. Winnie, County Counsel, Alameda County, CA; Sayre Weaver and Veronica S. Gunderson, Richards Watson & Gershon, Los Angeles, CA, were also on the brief.

C.D. Michel, Trutanich-Michel, LLP, Long Beach, CA, filed a brief on behalf of amici curiae the National Rifle Association of America, Inc., and the California Rifle & Pistol Association. Stephen P. Halbrook, Law Offices of Stephen P. Halbrook, Fairfax, VA, was also on the brief.

Tracy Duell-Cazes, Law Offices of Tracy Duell-Cazes, San Jose, CA, filed a brief on behalf of amici curiae Professors of Law.

Vanessa A. Zecher, Law Offices of Vanessa A. Zecher, San Jose, CA, filed a brief on behalf of amici curiae Professors of Law, History, Political Science, or Philosophy.

Alan Gura, Gura & Possessky, PLLC, Alexandria, VA, filed a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Second Amendment Foundation, Inc.

Jordan Eth, Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco, CA, filed a brief on behalf of Amici Curiae the Legal Community Against Violence, City of Oakland, City and County of San Francisco, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, California Peace Officers' Association, California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs' Association, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Violence Policy Center, and Youth Alive!. Jacqueline Bos and Angela E. Kleine, Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco, CA, were also on the brief.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Martin J. Jenkins, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-99-04389-MJJ.


Opinion by Judge O'Scannlain; Concurrence by Judge Gould


O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge:

We must decide whether the Second Amendment prohibits a local government

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from regulating gun possession on its property.



Russell and Sallie Nordyke operate a business that promotes gun shows throughout California. A typical gun show involves the display and sale of thousands of firearms, generally ranging from pistols to rifles. Since 1991, they have publicized numerous shows across the state, including at the public fairgrounds in Alameda County. Before the County passed the law at issue in this appeal, the Alameda gun shows routinely drew about 4,000 people. The parties agree that nothing violent or illegal happened at those events.

In the summer of 1999, the County Board of Supervisors, a legislative body, passed Ordinance No. 0-2000-22 (" the Ordinance" ), codified at Alameda County General Ordinance Code (" Alameda Code" ) section 9.12.120. The Ordinance makes it a misdemeanor to bring onto or to possess a firearm or ammunition on County property. Alameda Code § 9.12.120(b). It does not mention gun shows.

According to the County, the Board passed the Ordinance in response to a shooting that occurred the previous summer at the fairgrounds during the annual County Fair.1The Ordinance begins with findings that " gunshot fatalities are of epidemic proportions in Alameda County." Id. § 9.12.120(a). At a press conference, the author of the Ordinance, Supervisor Mary King, cited a " rash of gun-related violence" in the same year as the fairground shooting. She was referring to a series of school shootings that attracted national attention in the late 1990s, the most notorious of which occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.2

But the Nordykes insist that something more sinister was afoot. They point to some of King's other statements as evidence that she actually intended to drive the gun shows out of Alameda County. Shortly before proposing the Ordinance, King sent a memorandum to the County Counsel asking him to research " the most appropriate way" she might " prohibit the gun shows" on County property. King declared she had " been trying to get rid of gun shows on Country property" for " about three years," but she had " gotten the run around from spineless people hiding behind the constitution, and been attacked by aggressive gun toting mobs on right wing talk radio." At her press conference, King also said that the County should not " provide a place for people to display guns for worship as deities for the collectors who treat them as icons of patriotism." Without expressing any opinion about King's remarks, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Ordinance.

County officials then exchanged several letters with the Nordykes. The General Manager of the fairgrounds asked the Nordykes to submit a written plan to explain how their next gun show would comply with the Ordinance. As the County Counsel had told the General Manager, the Ordinance did not expressly prohibit gun shows or the sale of firearms. The Nordykes insisted then and maintain now that they cannot hold a gun show without guns;

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perhaps because they thought it futile, they never submitted a plan.

During the same period, representatives of the Scottish Caledonian Games (" the Scottish Games" ) inquired about the effect of the new law on the activities they traditionally held on the fairgrounds. Those activities include reenactments, using period firearms loaded with blank ammunition, of historic battles. After the inquiries, the County amended the Ordinance to add several exceptions. Importantly, the Ordinance no longer applies to

[t]he possession of a firearm by an authorized participant in a motion picture, television, video, dance, or theatrical production or event, when the participant lawfully uses the firearm as part of that production or event, provided that when such firearm is not in the actual possession of the authorized participant, it is secured to prevent unauthorized use.

Alameda Code § 9.12.120(f)(4). This exception allows members of the Scottish Games to reenact historic battles if they secure their weapons, but it is unclear whether the County created the exception just for them.

By the time the County had written this exception into the Ordinance, the Nordykes and several patrons of and exhibitors at the gun shows (collectively, " the Nordykes" ) had already sued the County and its Supervisors under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for various constitutional violations. The amendment did not mollify them, and their lawsuit has wended through various procedural twists and turns for nearly a decade.


Two rulings of the district court are now before us, the tangled history of which we summarize.


Initially, the Nordykes argued that the Ordinance violated their First Amendment right to free speech and was preempted by state law. They sought a temporary restraining order, which the district court treated as an application for a preliminary injunction. Nordyke v. King, ( Nordyke III ), 319 F.3d 1185, 1188 (9th Cir.2003). After the district court denied the injunction, we accepted the case for an interlocutory appeal. Rather than reach the merits of the case, we certified to the California Supreme Court the question whether state laws regulating gun shows and the possession of firearms preempted the Ordinance. See Nordyke v. King ( Nordyke I ),229 F.3d 1266 (9th Cir.2000). The California Supreme Court answered that the Ordinance was not preempted. See Nordyke v. King ( Nordyke II ),27 Cal.4th 875, 118 Cal.Rptr.2d 761, 44 P.3d 133, 138 (Cal.2002).

We proceeded to address the Nordykes' challenges under the First and Second Amendments.3 Construing the First Amendment challenge as a facial one, we rejected their argument that the statute burdened the expressive conduct of gun possession. Nordyke III, 319 F.3d at 1190. Our opinion noted that its rejection of the facial attack did not " foreclose a future as applied challenge to the Ordinance." Id. at 1190 n. 3.

We also concluded that our prior opinion in Hickman v. Block, 81 F.3d 98 (9th Cir.1996), precluded the Nordykes' Second

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Amendment claim. Nordyke III, 319 F.3d at 1191. Hickman had held " that individuals lack standing to raise a Second Amendment challenge to a law regulating firearms" because the right to keep and bear arms was a collective one. Id. at 1191-92. We remanded the case for further proceedings.


On remand, the Nordykes moved for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. They wished to rephrase their First Amendment challenge, arguing that, as applied to their use of the fairgrounds, the Ordinance violated their freedom of expression by making gun shows impossible. In addition, the Second Amended Complaint contained as-applied versions of other constitutional challenges, including an equal protection claim. The district court allowed the Nordykes to add all of those claims, but denied the motion to add a Second Amendment...

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