Cities and townships are using zoning restrictions to create “gun-store-free zones” around the country. This includes over 20 such zones in California alone.
According to the Trace, a gun control journalism outlet, such use of zoning codes allows cities to “effectively ban firearm stores” in lieu of Congressional refusal to pass more gun laws.
Piscataway, New Jersey, is one of the latest townships to adopt this approach. They have no federally licensed firearms dealers in their township, and the town council hopes to use a zoning resolution to keep any licensed dealers from setting up shop in the future. Their resolution, according to the Trace, “bans gun stores from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, health care facilities, and other sensitive locations. While the new zoning law does not explicitly forbid gun stores from opening in the suburb, it makes dealers subject to conditions that almost no location meets.”
Alameda County, California, served as an impetus for the Piscataway resolution. In Teixeira v. County of Alameda, plaintiffs argued that the county’s zoning codes violated the Second Amendment by stringently limiting a citizen’s access to firearms via prohibitions on gun stores. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiff, only later to have that decision reversed by the Ninth Circuit en banc in 2017.
The Ninth Circuit’s reversal was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, but Bloomberg News reported that the Court passed on the case. The Court’s refusal to hear the appeal allowed the zoning codes to stand, convincing other cities and townships that such zoning practices are constitutional.