Teixeira v. County of Alameda, No. 13-17132 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff and two other individuals, seeking to operate a gun shop in the County, challenged the County's ordinance which requires that the proposed location of the business is not within 500 feet of a residentially zoned district. The district court subsequently granted the County's motion to dismiss for failure to state claim. The court concluded that, because plaintiff's equal protection challenge is no more than a Second Amendment claim dressed in equal protection clothing, it is subsumed by, and coextensive with the former, and therefore is not cognizable under the Equal Protection Clause. Nor did plaintiff adequately plead a class-of-one Equal Protection claim where plaintiff acknowledges that gun stores are materially different from other retail businesses and therefore is not a similarly situated business. The court concluded that the right to purchase and to sell firearms is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and to bear arms, and that the Ordinance's potential interference was a proper basis for plaintiff's Second Amendment challenge. Furthermore, the Ordinance burdens conduct protected by the Second Amendment and is subject to heightened scrutiny. Under this standard, the court concluded that the County failed to carry its burden of demonstrating that there was a reasonable fit between the challenged regulation and its asserted objective. In this case, the County failed to satisfy its burden because it never justified the assertion that gun stores act as magnets for crime. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.