Vol. 17 No. 3- CPCA Voice Heard Bycalifornia Supreme Court

April 29, 2002

To: All Police Chiefs and Sheriffs

From: Martin J. Mayer


We are most pleased to inform you that, once again, the opinion of the California Police Chiefs’ Association (CPCA) played a role in decisions by the California Supreme Court. Earlier this week, the Court ruled that local governments have the authority to enact strict laws regulating the possession and sale of firearms on government property. In the cases of Nordyke v. King, 2002 DJDAR 4375 and Great Western Shows Inc. v. County of Los Angeles, 2002 DJDAR 4367, the Court held that state laws do not pre-empt cities and counties from enacting their own restrictions on gun shows held on city and county property.

The law firm of Jones & Mayer prepared and filed amicus briefs on behalf of CPCA, in both cases, supporting the positions of Alameda and Los Angeles counties. It is significant to note that the role of CPCA, as amici, was specifically cited in the front page article of the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

The Supreme Court, in 6-1 rulings, held that local governments are “not compelled to grant access to its property to all comers.” Furthermore, said the Court, if local government allows gun shows to be held, “it may impose more stringent restrictions on the sale of firearms than state law prescribes.”

The Los Angeles ordinance prohibits the sale of guns and ammunition on county property and was intended to prevent Great Western Shows from holding its annual gun show at the county fairgrounds, located in Pomona. The Alameda ordinance makes it a misdemeanor to bring any firearm onto county property unless the weapon is carried by a peace officer, a security guard or those who possess special firearms licenses. These cases reinforce the concepts of home rule and the regulatory autonomy of local government.

The cases originated in the federal court but the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal had referred them to the California Supreme Court to first decide whether state laws pre-empted the local ordinances. Now that the state question has been decided, the cases will go back to the 9th Circuit for determination of federal issues involving First Amendment, due process and equal protection claims.

Jones & Mayer, as pro bono counsel to the California Police Chiefs Association, is pleasedand honored to provide this support to law enforcement. We will continue to monitor these cases and keep you all apprised of their progress. As always, should you wish to discuss these matters in greater detail, please feel free to contact Martin Mayer at 714-446-1400 or at mjm@jones-mayer.com.

[The Law Offices of Jones & Mayer located in Fullerton, California focus its practice on representing the interests of public entities as its City Attorney, in labor negotiations, in defending tort litigation and civil rights litigation. Martin Mayer focuses his practice in the area of representing cities, counties and the State on matters arising out of their respective law enforcement agencies.]