The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that the Second Amendment [text] protects the right to buy and sell firearms. Three individuals challenged an Alameda County, California, ordinance that prohibits gun shops from being located within 500 feet of a residentially zoned district. The court held that while the ordinance might well be constitutional, it must be subject to heightened scrutiny. According to the court:
If “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 subsidiary activity, it would make little sense if the right did not extend, at least partly, to such activity as well.
The court’s ruling allows the lawsuit challenging the ordinance to proceed, reversing a lower court decision that had dismissed the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims.
Gun control [JURIST backgrounder] and the Second Amendment continue to be controversial topics across the US. In February the US Supreme Court heard arguments [JURIST report] in a case addressing firearm possession for people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. In January US President Barack Obama announced executive actions on gun control [JURIST report]. In November an appellate court in Wisconsin ruled that a state law that prohibits possession of certain knives [JURIST report] violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.