The issue before the court is 14th Amendment incorporation of the Second Amendment to protect from state infringement the individual right to gun ownership, recognized in DC Gov v. Heller (decided in the Appeals court as Parker et al. v. DC Gov).

The Parker/Heller conclusions have already decided all the courts need to decide on gun rights and firearms policy. Fourteenth Amendment incorporation will not foreclose the national policy option the courts have already opened the path for. It will only overburden the courts with a completely unnecessary constitutional mess.

A crude draft is at It is about twice too long for the court. The approach is aggressive. The deadline for filing has been extended to the 2nd week of January.

The Potowmack Institute

Briefs filed in Nordyke:
Supplemental Brief of Appellants (Nordykes) RE: Second Amendment Issues, Sept. 10, 2008

Appellee's (Alameda Co.) Suplemental Brief, Sept. 12, 2008

Appellee's (Alameda Co.) Brief in Reply to Supplemental Brief of Appellants, Oct. 3, 2008

Other relevant cases:
United States Supreme Court, US v. Hayes, Feb. 24, 2009

US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
John Justice and Mike Woodward v. Town of Cicero, Aug. 14, 2009.

US Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Mandamas Order, Dissent from Mandamas Order

Briefs in the Chicago cases that the Supreme Court will hear are at

Update, July 9, 2009.

The Ninth Circuit's rehearing of Nordyke.
Also at:
was released April 20, 2009. Parker v. DC Gov. was decided in the DC Court of Appeals in March, 2007. It was upheld for the District of Columbia, a federal enclave, by the Supreme Court in DC Gov. v. Heller. Using the Supreme Court ruling in Heller, the revisited Nordyke opinion with limitations incorporated the Second Amendment under the Fourteenth Amendment to protect gun ownership against state and local government restrictions. The opinion is in conflict with Seventh Circuit and Second Circuit opinions in NRA v. Chicago and Maloney v. Cuomo. The Supreme Court may decide in its next term to resolve the conflict.

Thirty-two state attorney generals have filed to the Supreme Court in support of hearing for Nordyke, NRA v. Chicago, and Maloney v. Cuomo.
The brief is in support of the NRA's petitition to the Supreme Court.

The most important arguments for a civil right to be privately armed were in the dissents to a rehearing of Silveira in 2003.
Judge Kleinfeld goes so far as to included pages from the original militia act which are explicitly about military preparedness, rules of military discipline, military organization and conscription. In his reasoning the Militia Act was all about maintaining his own "amorphous body of the [armed] people as a whole". (See below.) which the NRA has argued as the "armed populace at large"
The next step from there is the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas"

They keep quoting Thomas Cooley. He was one of the primary architects of the doctrine of "substantive due process" for capitalist private property to be protected from the arbitrary restrictions of "the people" --that is, the legislatures. There is a discussion on this in Peter Irons' A People's History of the Supreme Court. No one talks about the right of the people as armed workers to take up arms against capitalist property. Substantive due process is the right the gun rights ideologues want but the courts without apparent understanding have given them "reasonable restrictions". Worse than that the courts have resurrected the original militia concept of "registration ... for militia service if called up." Instead of an anarchic right, the gun rights militants get civic obligation. The Parker/Heller opinions are devastating defeats for the gun lobby's core doctrine that the purpose of those guns in private hands, outside of the knowledge and reach of law and government, is to maintain an anarchic balance of power between a privately armed populace and any and all government.

There is a much larger political context to gun rights. What the Potowmack Institute calls the Libertarian Right has never accepted the twentieth century political transformations of constitutional proportions that made the United States into a modern state capable of managing an industrial economy, performing on the world stage as a great power, and guaranteeing liberty and justice for all. These transformations involved expansions of federal authority to deal with real issues. The driving force of the Libertarian Right is political cynicism. We cannot have a national governing authority that addresses pressing national issues. The political cynicism will take us back to the policy world of 1900 or the constitutional world of 1860.

The problem is that most people accept the political transformations that made the modern state. The Libertarian Right cannot dismantle the modern state on the merits of policy. It will struggle on the battle ground of divisive social issues, what we know as culture wars. What we get is cynical, small minded, obstructionist politics. There is no better example than gun rights.

Gun rights involve the most vital and fundamental issues and concepts of political life but have taken their place as another divisive social issue. Instead of real public discourse, political leadership and policy making, we get a progun/antigun culture war. Behind the culture war is a childish political fantasy and very malignant vision of economic, social and political life.

After their defeat in 1976 in US v. Francis J. Warin, gunlobby/libertarian ideologues went to work over the next thirty years to fabricate their anarchic, insurrectionist doctrine in a hundred law journal articles which are nothing short of pseudoscholarship. Through politically motivated appointments, the doctrine has now made its way into the federal courts almost completely without public notice. The federal courts have become politicized as part of the larger struggle over the contours of the modern state. The embrasure of the doctrine is reprehensible pandering to a malignant constituency to further the electoral and policy agenda of the Libertarian Right. We can judge the contours of the modern state on their merits case by case. We cannot throw out the constitutitional state baby with the modern state bath water. The only reason there is a claim for an individual right for private armed self-defense is because the gun lobby, led by the NRA, works very hard and very successfully to defeat any legislation that would apply against the lawless because the same legislation would apply against "armed citizen guerrillas" and others with insurrectionist fantasies.

That being said, they did not get what they want.

Judge Silberman concluded in Parker:

The Supreme Court in Heller upheld these conclusions. The gun lobby, led by the NRA, would fight viciously any legistative attempts to implement the Parker conclusions.

The only real meaning a Second Amendment individual right can have is Fourteenth Amendment incorporation as a fundamental right. That is also problematic. See Judge Reinhardt's discussion in Silveira of fundamental rights. Are anarchists and insurrectionists now targeted groups needing constitutional protection? In their previous statements Justices Scalia and Thomas have not spoken of Fourteenth Amendment incorporation. They have spoken only of an individual right as protection against federal gun control regulation. This regulation would be under the Commerce Clause. The expansion of federal authority under the Commerce Clause is the great bone in the throat of the Libertarian Right. Can we expect intellectual consistency from Thomas and Scalia? The authority for Judge Silberman's "registration of firearms", however, is not the Commerce Clause but the militia clauses and the Second Amendment. Militia duty was conscript duty. Civic obligation displaces political cynicism.

If the Supreme Court takes up the present conflict between the revisited Nordyke opinion and the dissenting opinions in Silveira on the one side and the present Seventh Circuit and Second Circuit opinions in NRA v. Chicago and Maloney v. Cuomo on the other and decides in favor of the revisited Nordyke opinion, then the Supreme Court will have embraced anarchy. See below. It will be worse than "dimwitted" (Judge Easterbrook in NRA v. Chicago) or "grotesque" (Justice Scalia in Heller). It will mean "dissolution of the government" (John Adams). Justices on the Supreme Court will have become "Patrons of Anarchy" from John Locke's The Second Treatise of Government, well known to the founding generation.

To further the Libertarian Right's agenda to dismantle the modern state, the courts have pandered to an anarchic constituency and created a constitutional mess which is already manifest in many circumstances which will distract policy making and the courts for years.

They speak of "lawful" gun ownership and "reasonable" restrictions. If the anarchic "constitutional" right is a right to individual sovereignty in the State of Nature before there is law and government then there is no lawful or unlawful gun ownership and no reasonable or unreasonable restrictions because there is no "consent of the governed" and therefore no "just powers" of government, to make and enforce laws and restrictions. Any restriction, any law, any enforcement is an illegitimate police state. However, they did not get what they want. The Parker/Heller cases are devastating defeats for the gun rights ideologies. They are opportunities for political leadership. Silberman's conclusions in Parker are the formula for a firearms policy, but there is no political leadership in the midst of a national crisis that will take us out of the mess. There is only in the public mind the gun lobby's slippery slope to a police state. However, there is more than one slippery slope here. The other slippery slope is to anarchy which will lead just as surely to a police state.

The observations here are very far removed from public consciousness.

Also very far removed is what Fourteenth Amendment incorporation is really all about. The very ideologies that are very ambivalent, at best, about their acceptance of incorporation of other articles of the Bill of Rights will now rally to acceptance of Second Amendment incorporation. We will expand the powers of the Federal Government to protect the powers of insurrectionists and anarchists to resist under arms the powers of the Federal Government— and the powers of any and all government. But, not really. The courts will raise absurd expectations about a right to individual sovereignty and then dash them with registration and reasonable restrictions.

The great public debate that belongs in the political arena is taking place in the courts. The Ninth Circuit's Judge Reinhardt wrote his opinion in the earlier Silveira case to contradict the Fifth Circuit's Emerson opinion. The Ninth Circuit denied an en banc rehearing of Silveira in 2003. Judge O'Scannlain who wrote the present Nordyke opinion and also the original Nordyke opinion was one of six judges who dissented to the denial of a rehearing of Silveira. Judge Gould wrote concurring opinions in both cases. They were liberated by Heller to express their anarchy.

Judge Reinhardt wrote in Silveira, p. 44 (page numbers vary in different printings of the text):

Judges O'Scannlain and Gould signed on to Judge Kleinfeld's dissent to the denial of a rehearing to Silveira. Kleinfeld wrote referring to the US Code (10 USC § 331. Militia: composition and classes):

But, are they citizens bound by law or individual sovereigns in the State of Nature which is the state of anarchy? Do they consent to be governed? Do they give "just powers" to government? Do they give civic obligation? Has the federal judiciary descended into an embrasure of anarchy? Has the Constitution become no longer a frame of government but a treaty among sovereign individuals— a whimsical notion? The Founding generation understood the difference. Judge Reinhardt's opinion is historically accurate and authoritative. The dissenters condemned it. Judge Silberman in Parker cites the dissenters twelve times. In affirming Parker the Supreme Court has already implicitly affirmed the anarchic doctrine. Is anyone paying attention?

Judge O'Scannlain in the revisited Nordyke opinion cites Alexander Hamilton from Federalist Paper No. 29. The part in bold is the part he cites. The words support the gun lobby/libertarian anarchic doctrine, but when the full context is restored they defeat it:

This is how the armed populace at large fantasy has been fabricated. Lifting words out of context is the chief technique. Now even federal judges have gotten into the act. Stephen Halbrook is the chief fabricator:
Hamilton was clearly descibing a select state based militia force. The NRA's "armed populace at large" and Judge Kleinfeld's "amorphous body of the people as a whole" are invented out of the historic context that concription into the militia was universal. Militia duty was conscript duty, a coerced civic obligation. Try to resurrect that obligation now and impose it on the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas".

Hamilton was speaking from the apprehensions of historic memory. The US Army as created in the Constitution was explicitly modeled after the mercenary British Army recently removed. The right of the people in the militia, in the militia clauses of the Constitution, the Second Amendment and the Militia Act of 1792 was the republican right of the people to participate in the military functions of the state as conscript citizen soldiers rather than leave those functions up to a mercenary army. The antagonistic relationship between the conscript state militias and the mercenary US Army was combined in the twentieth century selective service acts. The US Army became in a sense a national militia. The life of the Republic moves on. The militia discussions in the Federalist Papers were relevant to the issues and concerns of the ratification period. They are anachronistic to our present politics and policies.

Judge Gould is equally as anarchic in his original Nordyke concurring opinion:

These issues are not new in the historical record. We might appreciate that the Founders did not have much use for the militia as a military force and even less regard for the "amorphous body of the people as a whole".

Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper No. 25:

and in No. 28:

Violence Policy Center amicus curiae brief in Nordyke:

Other actions in court

The Second Amendment in Court





No. 99-17551

DC No. CV-99-04389-MJJ

Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California
Martin J. Jenkins, district Judge, Presiding

Argued and submitted August 10, 2000
Submission Vacated, Certified to California Supreme Court
June 26, 2002
Supplemental Briefing Ordered September 6, 2002
February 11, 2003, Resubmitted San Francisco, California

February 18, 2003, Filed


PRIOR HISTORY: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. D.C. No. CV-99-04389-MJJ. Martin J. Jenkins, District Judge, Presiding.


JUDGES: Before: Arthur L. Alarcón, Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by Judge O'Scannlain;
Concurrence by Judge Gould.


Donald E. J. Kilmer, Jr., Law Offices of Donald Kilmer, San Jose, California, argued the cause and filed briefs for the appellants.

Sayre Weaver, Richards, Watson, & Gershon, San Francisco, California, argued the cause for the appellees; Richard Winnie, County Counsel, County of Alameda, was on the briefs.

C.D. Michel, Trutanich Michel, LLP, San Pedro, California, and Stephen P. Halbrook, Law Offices of Stephen P. Halbrook, Fairfax, Virginia, were on the brief for amicus curiae National Rifle Association of America, Inc.


O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge:

We must decide whether a local ordinance prohibiting the possession of firearms on county property infringes upon constitutional rights protected by the First and Second Amendments.


Russell Nordyke and Sallie Nordyke (dba TS Trade Shows) ("Nordyke") have been promoting gun shows at the Alameda County Fairgrounds ("Fairgrounds") since 1991. The Fairgrounds are located on unincorporated county land in the City of Pleasanton. The exhibitors at the show include sellers of antique (pre-1898) firearms, modern firearms, ammunition, Old West memorabilia, and outdoor clothing. In addition, the show hosts educational workshops, issue groups, and political organizations.


In August 1999, Alameda County ("County") passed an ordinance making illegal the possession of firearms on County property ("Ordinance"). In pertinent part, the Ordinance reads: "Every person who brings onto or possesses on county property a firearm, loaded or unloaded, or ammunition for a firearm is guilty of a misdemeanor."Alameda County, Cal., Ordinance § 9.12.120(b). The Ordinance would forbid the presence of firearms at gun shows, such as Nordyke's, held at the Fairgrounds. As a practical matter, the Ordinance makes it unlikely that a gun show could profitably be held there.

Seeking to prevent the Ordinance's enforcement, Nordyke brought suit against the County in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Nordyke applied for a temporary restraining order, claiming that the Ordinance was preempted by state gun regulations and that it violated the First Amendment's free speech guarantee. The district court judge treated the application as one for a preliminary injunction and denied it. The judge noted that under either test for a preliminary injunction, a litigant must at least show a fair chance of success on the merits and ruled that Nordyke had failed to do so. Because he concluded that Nordyke had little chance of success on the merits, he did not reach the balance of the hardships determination. Nordyke then filed this timely interlocutory appeal.

We certified Nordyke's preemption claim to the California Supreme Court asking the following question: "Does state law regulating the possession of firearms and gun shows preempt a municipal ordinance prohibiting gun possession on county property"? Nordyke v. King ("Nordyke I"), 229 F.3d 1266, 1267 (9th Cir. 2000).

The California Supreme Court granted certification and ultimately held, "whether or not the Ordinance is partially preempted, Alameda County has the authority to prohibit the operation of gun shows held on its property, and, at least to


that extent, may ban possession of guns on its property. "Nordyke v. King ("Nordyke II"), 27 Cal. 4th 875, 44 P. 3d 133, 138 (Cal. 2002). Pursuant to Rule 29.5 of the California Rules of Court we follow the answer provided by the California Supreme Court to the certified question. We therefore conclude that the district court properly determined that Nordyke's preemption claim was without merit.

Nevertheless, we must still decide Nordyke's remaining constitutional claims. Nordyke urges, under the First Amendment, that the Ordinance impermissibly infringes upon constitutionally protected speech rights.

Nordyke also makes a Second Amendment challenge to the Ordinance. Pending the certification of Nordyke's preemption claim to the California Supreme Court, there were several judicial developments relating to the Second Amendment. As a result, Nordyke filed a motion for supplemental briefing with this court which we granted. Because of our sister circuit's holding in United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), and the change in the United States government's position on the scope of the Second Amendment, n1 Nordyke now urges on appeal that the Ordinance unduly infringes the right of individuals under the Second Amendment to possess privately and to bear their own firearms.


We consider first Nordyke's challenge to the Ordinance on the grounds that it infringes his First Amendment right to free speech. The district court squarely rejected Nordyke's argument that gun possession is expressive conduct protected by

n1 See Opposition to Petition for Certiorari in United States v. Emerson,No. 01-8780, at 19 n.3, available at ses/2001-8780.resp.pdf


the First Amendment and that the ban on the possession of firearms unconstitutionally interferes with commercial speech. n2


[1] As to Nordyke's expressive conduct claim, the Supreme Court has "rejected the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled 'speech' whenever the person engaging in the conduct intends thereby to express an idea." Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 404 (1989) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). However, the Court has "acknowledged that conduct may be sufficiently imbued with elements of communication to fall within the scope of the First and Fourteenth Amendments." Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

In the case at hand, Nordyke argues that possession of guns is, or more accurately, can be speech. In evaluating his claim, we must ask whether "[a]n intent to convey a particularized message [is] present, and [whether] the likelihood [is] great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it." Spence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405, 410-11 (1974). If the possession of firearms is expressive conduct, the question becomes whether the County's "regulation is related to the suppression of free expression." Johnson, 491 U.S. at 403. If so, strict scrutiny applies. If not, we must apply the less stringent standard announced in United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367, 377 1673 (1968).

The first step of this inquiry— whether the action is protected expressive conduct— is best suited to an as applied challenge to the Ordinance. However, in this case, Nordyke challenged the law before it went into effect. Accordingly, he mounts a facial challenge, relying on hypotheticals and exam-

n2 In addition, the district court considered whether the Ordinance was a constitutional time, place, and manner regulation. Nordyke does not press this argument on appeal, however.


ples to illustrate his contention that gun possession can be speech.

[2] In evaluating Nordyke's claim, we conclude that a gun itself is not speech. The question in Johnson was whether flag burning was speech, not whether a flag was speech. 491 U.S. at 404-06. Here too, the correct question is whether gun possession is speech, not whether a gun is speech. Someone has to do something with the symbol before it can be speech. Until the symbol is brought onto County property, the Ordinance is not implicated. See also Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969) (analyzing whether the wearing of armbands is speech, not whether armbands themselves are speech); O'Brien, 391 U.S. at 376 (analyzing whether burning of draft cards is speech).

[3] In the context of a facial challenge, Nordyke's contentions are unpersuasive. Gun possession can be speech where there is "an intent to convey a particularized message, and the likelihood [is] great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it." Spence, 418 U.S. at 410-11. As the district court noted, a gun protestor burning a gun may be engaged in expressive conduct. So might a gun supporter waving a gun at an anti-gun control rally. Flag waving and flag burning are both protected expressive conduct. See Johnson, 491 U.S. at 404-06. Typically a person possessing a gun has no intent to convey a particular message, nor is any particular message likely to be understood by those who view it. The law itself applies broadly to ban the possession of all guns for whatever reason on County property. The law includes exceptions, primarily for those otherwise allowed to carry guns under state law, but these exceptions do not narrow the law so that it "has the inevitable effect of singling out those engaged in expressive activity." Arcara v. Cloud Books, Inc., 478 U.S. 697, 706-07 3172 (1986).

[4] As Nordyke's "facial freedom of speech attack" does not involve a statute "directed narrowly and specifically at


expression or conduct commonly associated with expression," his challenge fails. See Roulette v. City of Seattle, 97 F.3d 300, 305 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting City of Lakewood v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co., 486 U.S. 750, 760 (1988)). In Roulette, we turned back a facial First Amendment challenge to a city ordinance prohibiting sitting or lying on the sidewalk. The plaintiffs argued that the law infringed their free speech rights because sitting and lying can sometimes communicate a message. See 97 F.3d at 303. We "reject[ed] plaintiffs' facial attack on the ordinance" because this conduct is not "integral to, or commonly associated with, expression." 97 F.3d at 305. Likewise, Nordyke's challenge fails because possession of a gun is not "commonly associated with expression."

[5] Nordyke points out that several of the rifles for sale are decorated with political messages, most prominently the National Rifle Association Tribute Rifle, which depicts the NRA banner, a militia member and an inscription quoting the Second Amendment: "The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms." Where the symbols on the gun (not the gun itself) convey a political message, the gun likely represents a form of political speech itself. See Gaudiya Vaishnava Soc'y v. City and County of San Francisco, 952 F.2d 1059, 1063 (9th Cir. 1991) (holding that merchandise displaying political messages are entitled to First Amendment protection). Here, Nordyke is mounting a facial challenge. In this context, the presence of a handful of NRA Tribute Rifles at a show at which the vast majority of the prohibited guns bear no message whatsoever does not impugn the facial constitutionality of the Ordinance. See Roulette, 97 F.3d at 305; cf. Gaudiya, 952 F.2d at 1064-65 (upholding First Amendment challenge where case involved only merchandise bearing political messages). Thus, we agree with the district court's conclusion that the Ordinance does not unconstitutionally infringe expressive conduct. n3

n3 However, we note that our holding does not foreclose a future as applied challenge to the Ordinance.



[6] Next, Nordyke contends that the Ordinance's prohibition of gun possession on County property unconstitutionally burdens his right to commercial speech. We have previously held that the act of exchanging money for a gun is not "speech" for the purposes of the First Amendment. See Nordyke v. Santa Clara County ("Nordyke III"), 110 F.3d 707, 710 (9th Cir. 1997). In Nordyke III, the very same Nordykes that are before us in this case successfully challenged an addendum to a lease between the county and the fairgrounds operator that barred gun shows from the fairgrounds. The lease addendum held to be an unconstitutional infringement of commercial free speech rights in Nordyke III prohibited offers to sell guns. In contrast, the Ordinance here bars neither sales nor offers to sell, only possession. See Alameda County, Cal., Ordinance § 9.12.120(b). Nevertheless, Nordyke argues that the prohibition on possession makes the sale more difficult and sometimes impossible, stifling commercial speech.

[7] Pursuant to Nordyke III, the sale itself is not commercial speech. It is difficult to argue then that making the sale (non speech) more difficult by barring possession (non-speech) infringes speech. Nordyke cites no authority for this proposition. Nor is this the case of making a sale more difficult by barring speech. In cases such as Nordyke III, what renders the law unconstitutional is the interference with speech itself, not the hindering of actions (e g., sales) that are not speech. As possession itself is not commercial speech and a ban on possession at most interferes with sales that are not commercial speech, we agree with the district court's conclusion that the County's prohibition on possession does not infringe Nordyke's right to free commercial speech.


[8] Finally, we turn to Nordyke's challenge to the Ordinance on Second Amend-


ment grounds. The Second Amendment provides: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." U.S. Const. amend. II. The meaning of this amendment and the extent of the constitutional right it confers have been the subject of much scholarly and legal debate.

The "individual rights" view advocated by Nordyke has enjoyed recent widespread academic endorsement. See, e.g., Sanford Levinson, "The Embarrassing Second Amendment", 99 Yale L. J. 637 (1989); Eugene Volokh, "The Commonplace Second Amendment", 73 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 793 (1998). In addition, Nordyke finds support for the individual rights interpretation from our sister circuit's recent holding in United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), that the Second Amendment "protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms." Id. at 260.

[9] We recognize that our sister circuit engaged in a very thoughtful and extensive review of both the text and historical record surrounding the enactment of the Second Amendment. And if we were writing on a blank slate, we may be inclined to follow the approach of the Fifth Circuit in Emerson . However, we have squarely held that the Second Amendment guarantees a collective right for the states to maintain an armed militia and offers no protection for the individual's right to bear arms. In Hickman v. Block, 81 F.3d 98, 102 (9th Cir. 1996), we held that "it is clear that the Second Amendment guarantees a collective rather than an individual right. Because the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the states to maintain armed militia, the states alone stand in the position to show legal injury when this right is infringed." (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

[10] As a result, our holding in Hickman forecloses Nordyke's Second Amendment argument. We specifically held


there that individuals lack standing to raise a Second Amendment challenge to a law regulating firearms. Id. at 103. Because "Article III standing is a jurisdictional prerequisite," id. at 101, we have no jurisdiction to hear Nordyke's Second Amendment challenge to the Ordinance. See Ex parte McCardle, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 506, 514 (1868) ("Without jurisdiction the court cannot proceed at all in any cause. Jurisdiction is the power to declare the law, and when it ceases to exist, the only function remaining to the court is that of announcing the fact and dismissing the cause.").n4

n4 We should note in passing that in Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), another panel took it upon itself to review the constitutional protections afforded by the Second Amendment even though that panel was also bound by our court's holding in Hickman. The panel in Silveira concluded that analysis of the text and historical record led it to the conclusion that the collective view of the Second Amendment is correct and that individual plaintiffs lack standing to sue.

However, we feel that the Silveira panel's exposition of the conflicting interpretations of the Second Amendment was both unpersuasive and, even more importantly, unnecessary. We agree with the concurring opinion in Silveira: " [W]e are bound by the Hickman decision, and resolution of the Second Amendment issue before the court today is simple: plaintiffs lack standing to sue for Second Amendment violations because the Second Amendment guarantees a collective, not an individual, right." Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir.2002) (Magill, J., concurring). This represents the essential holding of Hickman and is the binding law of this circuit.

There was simply no need for the Silveira panel's broad digression. In a recent case, an individual plaintiff cited to the Fifth Circuit's holding in Emerson and argued that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms. United States v. Hinostroza, 297 F.3d 924, 927 (9th Cir. 2002). However, we summarily, and properly as a matter of stare decisis, rejected the Second Amendment challenge on the grounds that it is foreclosed by this court's holding in Hickman.

Therefore, despite the burgeoning legal scholarship supporting the "individual rights" theory as well as the Fifth Circuit's holding in Emerson, the Silveira panel's decision to re-examine the scope and purpose of the Second Amendment was improper. Because "only the court sitting en banc may overrule a prior decision of the court," Morton v. De Oliveira,



For the foregoing reasons, the district court's denial of Nordyke's application for a preliminary injunction must be


GOULD, Circuit Judge, Specially Concurring:

I join the court's opinion, and write to elaborate that Hickman v. Block, 81 F.3d 98 (9th Cir. 1996), was wrongly decided, that the remarks in Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), about the "collective rights" theory of the Second Amendment are not persuasive, and that we would be better advised to embrace an "individual rights" view of the Second Amendment, as was adopted by the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson, 270 F.3d 203, 260 (5th Cir. 2001), consistent with United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). n1 We should recognize that individual citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, subject to reasonable restriction by the government. n2 We should also revisit whether the

984 F.2d 289, 292 (9th Cir. 1993), the Silveira panel was bound by Hickman, and its rather lengthy re-consideration of Hickman was neither warranted nor constitutes the binding law of this circuit. Accordingly, we ignore the Silveira panel's unnecessary historical disquisition as the dicta that it is and consider ourselves bound only by the framework set forth in Hickman.

n1 This view is the current view of the United States. See Opposition to Petition for Certiorari in United States v. Emerson, No. 01-8780 at 19 n.3, available at ses/20018780.resp.pdf ("The current position of the United States . . . is that the Second Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals, including persons who are not members of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to possess and bear their own firearms, subject to reasonable restrictions. . . .").

n2 Emerson, 270 F.3d at 260. See also Memorandum from the Attorney General [John Ashcroft] to all United States Attorneys, Re: United States


requirements of the Second Amendment are incorporated into the Due Process Clause n3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. n4
(Text continued on page 2231)

v. Emerson, Nov. 9, 2001. ("The [Emerson] opinion also makes the important point that the existence of this individual right does not mean that reasonable restrictions cannot be imposed to prevent unfit persons from possessing firearms or to restrict possession of firearms particularly suited to criminal misuse.").

n3 Whether and to what extent the Bill of Rights should be incorporated into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is a question that has intrigued many. See Felix Frankfurter, "Memorandum on 'Incorporation' of the Bill of Rights into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment," 78 Harv. L. Rev. 746 (1965); Hugo Lafayette Black, "A Constitutional Faith," at xvi-vii, 34-42 (1968); William J. Brennan Jr., "The Bill of Rights and the States," 36 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 761 (1961); William J. Brennan Jr., "The Bill of Rights and the States: The Revival of State Constitutions as Guardians of Individual Rights," 61 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 535 (1986); Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, 171-193, 20 L.Ed. 2d 491, 88 S.Ct. 1444 (1968) (Harlan, J., dissenting); Erwin N. Griswold, "Due Process Problems Today in the United States," in The Fourteenth Amendment 161, 164 (Bernard Schwartz ed., 1970); Akhil Reed Amar, "The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment", 101 Yale L. J. 1193 (1992).

The Silveira majority states that United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 23 L.Ed. 588 (1876), and Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252, 29 L.Ed. 615, 6 S.Ct. 580 (1886), cases holding that the Second Amendment is not applicable to the states, "were decided before the Supreme Court held that the Bill of Rights is incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause." Silveira, 312 F. 3d at 1066 n.17. These remarks of Silveira on incorporation are overbroad and inaccurate. Many Amendments of the Bill of Rights have been incorporated against the states. See, e.g., Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968) (right to criminal jury); Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964) (privilege against compelled self-incrimination; .New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 11 L.Ed. 2d 686, 84 S.Ct. 710 (1964) (freedom of speech and press)); Abington Sch. Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 10 L.Ed. 2d 844, 83 S.Ct. 1560 (1963) (nonestablishment of religion); Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963) (right to counsel); Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961) (exclusion of evidence obtained by unreasonable search and seizure). However, the entire Bill of Rights has not been incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. See John E. Nowak & Ronald D. Rotunda, Constitutional Law 332-334 (4th ed. 1991).

We have held that the Second Amendment is not incorporated and does not apply to the states. Fresno Rifle and Pistol Club, Inc. v. Van de Kamp, 965 F.2d 723 (9th Cir. 1992). If Fresno controls, then the Second Amendment cannot be considered to apply to state and local regulation. Fresno in turn is grounded on Cruikshank and Presser. Silveira urges that Cruikshank and Presser have been undermined, asserting that Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 (1833) (holding that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the states), on which Cruikshank and Presser relied, is "now-rejected." Silveira, 312 F.3d at 1066 n.17.

Although the Supreme Court has incorporated many clauses of the Bill


of Rights into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has never explicitly overruled Barron. More importantly, the Supreme Court has never explicitly overruled Cruikshank and Presser. If reconsideration of Fresno is nonetheless permissible, we must ask whether the liberty guaranteed by the Second Amendment is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects those liberties which are "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition, and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed." Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 721 (1997) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). To the extent that the Second Amendment was aimed at maintaining an armed citizenry and local power as a check against the possibility of federal tyranny, that purpose is not directly applicable to the states, and a Second Amendment restraint on the states in this sense is not implicit to the concept of ordered liberty. No single state could foreclose liberty of its citizens when faced with the collective power of the federal government and other states. On the other hand, as Presser recognized, the vitality of the Second Amendment's protection for national defense and for preservation of freedom depends on the premise that the states cannot disarm the citizenry. Presser, 116 U.S. at 264-266 ("It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States as well as of the states, and, in view of this prerogative of the general government, as well as of its general powers, the states cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, so as to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security, and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government.") In this respect, maintenance of an armed citizenry might be argued to be implicit in the concept of ordered liberty and protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

n4 Another potential avenue for incorporation is via the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment which also may convey restrictions of the Second Amendment on the states. See Akhil Reed Amar, "The Second Amendment: A Case Study in Constitutional Interpretation," 2001 Utah. L. Rev. 889, 898-899. See also Laurence H. Tribe, "Taking Text and Structure Seriously: Reflections on Free-Form Method in Constitutional Interpretation," 108 Harv. L. Rev. 1221, 1297 n.247 (1995) (advocating use of the Privileges and Immunities Clause and calling for Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1872), to be overruled in order to accomplish this goal). I express no view on this theory.


Our panel is bound by Hickman, and we cannot reach the merits of Nordyke's challenge to Second Amendment. But the holding of Hickman can be discarded by our court en banc or can be rejected by the Supreme Court if it decides to visit the issue of what substantive rights are safeguarded by the Second Amendment. n5

I write to express disagreement with the "collective rights view" advanced in Hickman and Silveira because I conclude that an "individual rights view" of the Second Amendment is most consistent with the Second Amendment's language, structure, and purposes, as well as colonial experience and pre-adoption history. n6

n5 The Supreme Court's Second Amendment cases have displayed limited analysis of the structure and meaning of the Second Amendment. See generally 1 Laurence H. Tribe, American Constitutional Law 894-902 (3d ed. 2000). The Supreme Court in any appropriate case, however, may decide to review and clarify Second Amendment theory and application, and, as Justice Thomas has remarked, "determine whether Justice Story was correct when he wrote that the right to bear arms 'has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic. ' " Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898, 938-939 (1997) (Thomas, J., concurring) (quoting 3 Joseph Story,Commentaries § 1890, p. 746 (1833)).

n6 In addition to the Fifth Circuit, see Emerson, 270 F.3d at 264, many scholars have reached this conclusion. See, e. g., Don B. Kates, Jr., "Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment", 82 Mich. L. Rev. 204, 211-43 (1983) (advocating the individual rights view); Sanford Levinson, "The Embarrassing Second Amendment," 99 Yale L. J. 637, 642 (1989) (same); Robert E. Shalhope, "The Ideological Origins of the Second Amendment," 69 J. Am. Hist. 599 (1982) (same); William Van Alstyne, "The Second Amendment and the Personal Right to Arms," 43 Duke L. J. 1236, 1253 (1994) (same); but see Michael C. Dorf, "What Does the Second Amendment Mean Today," 76 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 291, 294


* * *

The Second Amendment provides: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." U.S. Const. amend. II. Because the "collective rights" view of Hickman and Silveira relies on the Second Amendment's introductory clause, it denigrates the right "of the people" and seeks to limit that right to participation in militia activity. The first eight Amendments of the Bill of Rights protect personal rights of the people. The introductory clause of the Second Amendment provides one justification, not the sole one, for the personal right that is granted. The introductory clause cannot properly be read to eliminate the substantive protection of "the right of the people." Limiting the Second Amendment's protection to collective rights of militias affronts the most basic protections of the Second Amendment. The subject of the Second Amendment is the right of the people to keep and bear arms; the text of the Second Amendment protects that right from infringement.

Also, the "collective rights" view of the Silveira majority gives too little weight to the Second Amendment's protection of a right to "keep" arms. The Silveira majority seeks to enhance collective rights theory by contending that to "bear" arms has a military meaning. Silveira, 312 F.3d at 1072. But the Second Amendment's literal terms are conjunctive. The Silveira majority urges that "keep and bear" should be read together. Id. at 1074. Though the terms are related, the distinct

(2000) (advocating a collective rights view); Jack N. Rakove, "The Second Amendment: The Highest Stage of Originalism," 76 Chi-Kent L. Rev. 103, 124 (2000) (same); David Yassky, "The Second Amendment: Structure, History and Constitutional Change," 99 Mich. L. Rev., 597 (2000) (arguing that "the Founders' overriding concern was to ensure that the new nation's military force would be composed of state militias instead of, or at least in addition to, a federal standing army").


right to "keep" arms is individual and a helpful antecedent to bearing arms in a militia.

The Silveira majority also urges that the word "keep" has no independent content because the Second Amendment does not protect a right to "own" or a right to "possess" arms. Id. at 1072 ("We consider it highly significant, however, that the second clause does not purport to protect the right to 'possess' or 'own', but rather to 'keep and bear' arms."). This argument is not valid. First, ownership is irrelevant. One can keep arms that belong to a friend or relative, and a bailee of arms can protect a homestead or serve in a militia. Second, as for the argument that the Second Amendment doesn't say "possess" arms, consider the American Heritage dictionary's first definition of "keep": "to retain possession of." American Heritage Dictionary 3d ed. 1974); see also Thomas Sheridan, Complete Dictionary of the English Language6th ed. 1796) (defining "to keep" as "[t]o retain; to have in custody"); Samuel Johnson, Dictionary of the English Language (7th ed. 1785) (defining "to keep" as "to retain; not to lose" and also "[t]o have in custody."). Because literally a right to "keep" arms means a right to possess arms, Silveira's argument, to the extent that it rests on a distinction between "keep" and "possess," is not persuasive. Third, Silveira's argument that a right to "keep" arms is subordinate to a right to "bear" arms sidesteps the literal conjunctive language of the Amendment and misconstrues the nature of a militia in which ordinary citizens contribute their personal arms to, and risk their lives for, the Nation's defense.

The conclusion that the Second Amendment's language supports an individual right to "keep and bear arms" is strengthened when we consider the nature and meaning of the term "Militia." The Second Amendment's language indicates that the "Militia" rests upon the shoulders of the people. As Professor Akhil Amar has explained, "the militia were the people and the people were the militia." Akhil Reed Amar, "The Second Amendment: A Case Study in Constitutional


Interpretation," 2001 Utah. L. Rev. 889, 892. He further explained that an earlier draft of the Amendment recited that the militia would be "composed of the body of the people." Id. (citing The Complete Bill of Rights 170-173) (Neil H. Cogan, ed., 1997).

Perhaps most importantly, the Second Amendment's purposes strongly support the theory of an individual right to "keep and bear" arms. The Second Amendment serves at least the following two key purposes: (1) to protect against external threats of invasion; and (2) to guard against the internal threat that our republic could degenerate to tyranny. n7 The purpose of militia to oppose external threat and preserve the national security is apparent from the face of the Second Amendment. The purpose of militia to check potential tyranny of a national government is implicit and is documented by contemporaneous parallel provisions of state constitutions. n8

n7 On the general problem of risks that a democratic republic may not endure, a classic work, first published in 1885 by nineteenth-century legal scholar Sir Henry Sumner Maine, is Popular Government (Liberty Classics 1976).

n8 A few examples from state constitutions illustrate the point:


This view is also reinforced by English and colonial history. English history shows constant recourse to militia to withstand invading forces that arrived not rarely from England's neighboring lands. See generally 2 Winston S. Churchill, History of the English Speaking Peoples: The New World (Dodd, Mead, & Co. 1966); 3 Winston S. Churchill, History of the English Speaking Peoples: The Age of Revolution (Dodd, Mead, & Co. 1967). In the colonies, not only soldiers, but also farmers, merchants, and statesmen typically owned weapons, and there can be no doubt that militia played important roles in defending the colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and during the revolutionary break with Great Britain.

Those who debated and framed the Bill of Rights were educated in practical political concepts and doubtless recognized that an opening gambit for tyrants is to disarm the public. n9 If the Second Amendment is held to protect only a state-regulated militia, then there would be no constitutional bar to a federal government outlawing possession of all arms by hunters and those with legitimate needs for protection. A general confiscation of guns could become the order of the day. I believe that result is foreclosed by the salient purpose of the

n9 "One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia. The friends of a free government cannot be too watchful, to overcome the dangerous tendency of the public mind to sacrifice, for the sake of mere private convenience, this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men." Joseph Story, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States § 450, p. 246 (1840).


Second Amendment to guard against tyranny, and that an individual right to keep and bear arms must be recognized.

It does not follow that such a right is absolute. The Bill of Rights, though robust, must be interpreted in light of societal needs. For example, even the broad protections of free speech in the First Amendment do not protect a person who "falsely shout[s] fire in a theatre and caus[es] a panic." Schenck v. U.S., 249 U.S. 47, 52 Ohio L. Rep. 149 (1919) (Holmes, J.). Similarly, the Fourth Amendment's general requirement of a warrant for a search permits exceptions for exigent circumstances. See Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980). And though recognizing an individual right to keep and bear arms, government can within due bounds regulate ownership or use of weapons for the public good. We would make progress if the Supreme Court were to establish a doctrine of an individual Second Amendment right subject to reasonable government regulation. The decisional chips would thereafter fall where they may on the basis of particular cases and the delicate balance of their precise facts, aided by the complementary efforts of lawyers, scholars and judges. n10 The law would best put aside extreme positions and adopt an assessment of reasonableness of gun regulation, for this would place us on the right track. n11

n10 The law develops through interdependent actions of academics advancing theories, advocates championing them in litigation, and Judges making decisions that clarify doctrine. The process is ongoing, for after decisions, academics will critique and offer suggested improvements, advocates will bring cases arguing what Judges said as refined by academic feedback, and more refined decisions result from this process. See Hon.Wade H. McCree, Jr., "The Annual John Randolph Tucker Lecture, Partners in a Process: The Academy and the Courts," 37 Wash. & Lee. L. Rev. 811, 1041 (1981).

n11 In my view it is an error, though understandable one, to view the Second Amendment exclusively or primarily with the issue in mind of whether it constrains gun control. That controversial issue, as important as it may be, can be a distorting lens through which to view the Amendment if it clouds judgment and prevents understanding of the basic purposes of the Second Amendment. Instead, the Second Amendment should be con-


Restricting the Second Amendment to "collective rights" of militias and ignoring individual rights of the people betray a key protection against the recurrent tyranny that may in each generation threaten individual liberty. n12 The Silveira majority takes the position that the Framers' concerns to check the possibility of a Federal government tyranny are sufficiently answered by reading the Second Amendment merely to ensure that the states could not be barred from funding state-organized militia. Silveira, 312 F.3d at 1085. I disagree. The Second Amendment cannot properly be interpreted to entrust the freedom of the people to the premise that state governments would arm a self-reliant people and protect the people against a federal tyranny. The practical concept of militia contemplates an armed citizenry capable of rising up, with what arms they hold or can find, to defeat, resist or at minimum delay an invader until more organized power can be marshalled. The likelihood of broad resistance from an armed citi-

sidered in light of its core purposes of protecting the nation's safety from external threat or internal tyranny. However, recognition of individual right in the Second Amendment, to protect national security, is not inconsistent with reasonable regulation, which may be permissible under several theories: (1) all weapons are not "arms" within the meaning of the Second Amendment; (2) "arms" protected may be limited to those consistent with use by an organized military force, as suggested in Miller; and (3) important government interests may justify reasonable regulation.

n12 We should instead heed the observations of President John F. Kennedy on the Second Amendment, which have remaining vitality:

John F. Kennedy, "Know Your Lawmakers," Guns, April 1960, at 4.


zenry is a deterrent to any would be invader. Equally important, the practical concept of militia, embracing an armed citizenry, stands to deter risk of government degradation to tyranny. This concept is weakened by Silveira's premise that the citizens could rely on their states to be an arsenal and repository for arms, and otherwise have no right.

The Second Amendment protects not the rights of militias but the rights "of the people." It protects their right not only to "bear arms," which may have a military connotation, but to "keep arms," which has an individual one. By giving inadequate weight to the individual right to keep arms, the Silveira majority does not do justice to the language of the Second Amendment and disregards the lesson of history that an armed citizenry can deter external aggression and can help avoid the internal danger that a representative government may degenerate to tyranny. The right to "keep and bear arms" is a fundamental liberty upon which the safety of our Nation depends, and it requires for its efficacy that an individual right be recognized and honored.

I reach this conclusion despite a recognition that many may think that these ideas are outmoded, that there is no risk in modern times of our government becoming a tyranny, and that there is little threat that others would invade our shores or attack our heartland. However, the Second Amendment was designed by the Framers of our Constitution to safeguard our Nation not only in times of good government, such as we have enjoyed for generations, but also in the event, however unlikely, that our government or leaders would go bad. And it was designed to provide national security not only when our country is strong but also if it were to become weakened or otherwise subject to attack. As the people bear the risk of loss of their freedom and the pain of any attack, our Constitution provides that the people have a right to participate in defense of the Nation. The Second Amendment protects that fundamental right.

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