gavel.jpgTwo gun show operators who want to sell guns at the Alameda County fairgrounds in Pleasanton won their bid today for another federal appeals court hearing on their 12-year-old lawsuit against the county.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced in San Francisco that a decision issued by a three-judge panel of the court in May will be reconsidered by an expanded 11-judge panel.

A date for the rehearing has not yet been announced.

Gun show promoters Russell and Sallie Nordyke of Glenn County are challenging a 1999 county law that bans bringing firearms to or possessing them on county property.

The ban was enacted in response to a 1998 shooting at the annual county fair in which eight people were injured. County officials contend the law is a reasonable safety measure.

The Nordykes, who had organized gun shows at the fairgrounds since 1991, filed their lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco in 1999 and were later joined by a dozen gun exhibitors and customers.

They claim the ordinance violates the constitutional Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms because it prevents citizens from buying weapons at the fairgrounds in order to exercise that right.

In May, a three-judge panel of the appeals court said the law didn’t appear to impose a “substantial burden” on gun rights because it applies only to county property and customers have other alternatives for buying guns.

Among other arguments, the Nordykes contended in their request for an 11-judge hearing that courts should use a stricter standard than the “substantial burden” measure to decide whether gun rights are violated.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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