(CN) – The 9th Circuit agreed to reconsider its panel decision upholding a gun ban at fairgrounds in Alameda County. The panel had rejected an attempt by gun-show owners to compare their situation to the Scottish Games, which reenact historic battles.
In a two-page order, the court in San Francisco agreed to reconsider the case.
The county had passed the gun ban in 1999, in response to a shooting at an annual county fair the previous summer.
Russell and Ann Nordyke, owners of TS Trade Shows, asked the county to grant them the same exception it made for the Scottish Caledonian Games, whose participants reenact historic battles using period firearms loaded with blanks.
In April, a three-judge panel ruled that the county had properly rejected the request, because the Nordykes failed to meet the safety requirements needed to overcome the gun ban.
The Nordykes cited the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which recognized an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
But the appellate panel pointed out that Heller contained an exception for “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places,” allowing the county to ban guns at the fairgrounds.
It also rejected the Nordykes’ claim that the ordinance violates their free-speech and equal-protection rights by banning gun shows while accommodating the Scottish Games.
“The Scottish Games, with their historical reenactments, are a very different kettle of fish from the Nordykes and their gun shows,” Judge O’Scannlain wrote.
“Crucially, the Nordykes have not argued that they could meet the exception’s requirement that firearms be secured whenever an authorized participant is not actually using them. No wonder. They have admitted that the very nature of gun shows, in which vendors show weapons to prospective buyers and admirers, makes it impossible.”
A larger panel of judges will rehear the case.