A 12-year legal battle over an Alameda County ban on gun shows on public property may end with a soft pop instead of a bang.
With a scathing dissent from the chief judge, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ordered county lawyers and gun show promoters Russell and Sally Nordyke into settlement talks to resolve a case that was expected to break new ground in Second Amendment law.
The brief order, signed by nine judges, would leave unresolved questions about the constitutionality of local laws banning gun shows on government property.
The 9th Circuit order was prompted by issues that arose during arguments in the case last month, when county lawyers suggested the Nordykes could put on gun shows at the county fairgrounds with some basic changes, such as tethering guns to tables to display them, thus restricting the ability of patrons or sellers to carry them around.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, joined by 9th Circuit Judge Ronald Gould, clearly believed the court should have resolved the central legal issues, which have bounced through the federal courts for more than a decade.