WASHINGTON TIMES — Constitutional protections afforded by the Second Amendment include the right to buy and sell firearms, a federal appeals court ruled Monday in a decision that reinstates a lawsuit over zoning laws that limit where gun stores can be located.
In a 2-1 ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived Second Amendment challenges brought by three California businessmen who had sought to open a firearms store in Alameda County, but filed suit after they were denied a zoning permit based on laws that they claimed prevented them from opening a store anywhere in the county.
Monday’s ruling did not strike down the local zoning ordinance, but it does declare that the right to buy and sell firearms “is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and to bear arms.”
The majority opinion, authored by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, indicates a higher level of scrutiny should have been used to assess the constitutionality of the law and that the county government should have been required to present evidence justifying its restrictions.
“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,” Judge O’Scannlain wrote in the 34-page opinion for the majority.
“One cannot truly enjoy a constitutionally protected right when the State is permitted to snuff out the means by which he exercises it; one cannot keep arms when the State prevents him from purchasing them,” he wroTE.
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