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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that the Second Amendment Applies to the States

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fairfax, Va. – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit marked a milestone in Second Amendment history by ruling that the Second Amendment limits state and local government infringements on our right to keep and bear arms through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. NRA has been involved in, and supportive of, this case for the past ten years and has filed several amicus briefs in the case.

“The historic Heller decision was a major victory for law-abiding gun owners and recognized that the federal government could not infringe on our right to keep and bear arms,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “Today’s decision, which applies to the states in the Ninth Circuit, ensures that the fundamental freedoms affirmed in Heller are not just limited to the residents of Washington, D.C.”

In 1999, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that made it a misdemeanor to possess a firearm on county property, effectively banning gun shows. This ordinance affected a local business, owned by Russell and Sallie Nordyke, which promotes gun shows throughout California. In an attempt to continue holding their gun shows on the Alameda county fairgrounds property, the Nordykes filed suit to strike down the ordinance.

The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the ordinance banning guns on county property, but found, consistent with the views of most Second Amendment scholars, that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for all law-abiding Americans. NRA is also pursuing litigation on that issue in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois. That case is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

“The NRA shares the Nordykes' disappointment with the ruling on the county ordinance, as gun shows should not be discriminated against by local government entities. The incorporation portion of the decision, however, is a major step forward in enshrining our Second Amendment freedoms,” said Cox.

“This decision brings us closer to seeing Heller applied throughout the land,” concluded Cox. “After nearly 10 years of litigation, the hard work of the Nordykes, their attorneys, Donald Kilmer and Don Kates, and NRA’s legal team has resulted in today’s historic decision.”


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.