Gun Show Fight Enters Courtroom

The right to host gun shows will be decided in federal court.

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012  |  Updated 2:04 PM PDT
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Gun Show Fight Enters Courtroom

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The right to host gun shows is being argued in a federal court.

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Gun shows are welcome attractions in Santa Clara, where Glenn County couple Russell and Sallie Nordyke host up to five firearm expositions a year at the fairgrounds.

They host them there because gun shows are unwelcome in Alameda, Marin, and San Mateo counties, according to the San Jose Mercury News. And that's the problem.

The legal problem.

The Nordykes have sued, and on Monday, their federal case began in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal court. The Nordykes sued in 1999 to overturn Alameda County's ban on gun shows, which ended the Nordykes' ability to host shows at the county fairgrounds in Pleasanton, the newspaper reported.

The right to bear arms is of course in the Constitution: the 2nd Amendment guarantees such a right. But does the right extend to being able to sell guns where ever one pleases?

"This could be the next big gun case to go to the Supreme Court," Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and author of "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America" told the newspaper.

In 2009, a federal panel upheld Alameda County's gun show ban. The Nordykes maintain that there's no connection between gun shows and gun violence, and that the laws unfairly targets "gun culture," the newspaper reported.

The case will be watched closely by groups across the country, according to the newspaper, which named gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association on one side and gun control advocates such as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence on the other.

This legal showdown "is considered a barometer of how far local and state governments can go in regulating guns following U.S. Supreme Court rulings expanding constitutional protections for the right to bear arms," the newspaper reported

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