gun.jpgTwo gun show operators who want to hold shows at the Alameda County fairgrounds in Pleasanton were dealt a setback by a federal appeals court in San Francisco today.

A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the county’s ban on gun shows at the fair does not appear to violate the constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The court ruled in a long-running lawsuit originally filed in 1999 by gun show promoters Russell and Sallie Nordyke.

The county ban on bringing firearms onto county property was enacted in response to a 1998 shooting at the fair in which eight people were injured.

County officials contend the law is a reasonable public safety measure, while the Nordykes claim it violates their constitutional rights.

In today’s ruling, the appeals court said the standard for judging a law that restricts gun possession should be whether the law substantially burdens gun owners’ rights.

The court said the county ordinance was not a substantial burden because it applied only to county property.

“The ordinance does not prohibit gun shows, but merely declines to host them on government premises,” the court said.

But the ruling did not end the case. The court said the Nordykes could amend their lawsuit to present additional facts to try to show they suffered a substantial burden on their rights.

Don Kates, a lawyer for the Nordykes, said the plaintiffs’ attorneys are considering whether their next step will be to appeal further or to file an amended lawsuit.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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