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5 IN THE UMTED STATESDISTRICTCOURT

6 FOR THE NORTIIERNDISTRICTOF CALIFORMA


7
I RUSSELL ALLEN NORDYKE, et al., No. C 99-04389
M.IJ
9 Plaintiffs,
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS'
10 v. MOTION TO DISMISS

L 1 l MARY V. KING, et al.,


O n ¡
u'É t2 Defendants.
{.) =
' aË) 39 13
{ J o
v t Ë
t å t4
u t 7 Pendingbeforethe Courtis Defendants'Motion to DismisstheFirst Claimin Plaintifß' Third
g E l5
cgE
+ ) o AmendedComplaint(Doc.
#102).PlaintiffshavefiledanOpposition(Doc.#110),
andDefendantshave
Ø 4 t6
¡of filed a Reply(Doc.#l I l). For the following reasons,the CourtdeniesDefendants'Motion.
é ) fLõ
+) 17
i. Background
- l8
l r Plaintiffsbringthisactionpursuantto
42U.S.C.$1983,allegingthatAlamedaCountyOrdinance
19
CodeSection9.l2.l20t infringesontheir free speechrightsprotectedundertheUnitedStatesand
20
CaliforniaConstitutions.(Doc. #100*Third AmendedComplaint"at lfll.) The groupof Plaintiffs
2l
consistsof RussellandSallieNordyke,who havebeenpromotinggun showsat the AlamedaCounty
22
Fairgroundssincel99l , aswell astwelvegunshowvendors,exhibitors,andpatrons. (Id. at f![ 7-28.)
23
In theirFirst Claimfor Relief,Plaintiffsallegethatthey"havehistoricallybroughtfirearmsonto. . . the
24
AlamedaCountyFairgrounds purposesf.l" (Id. at\74.) Theyallege
for varioussymbolicandexpressive
25
that, by prohibiting possessionof firearmsat the Fairgrounds,the Ordinancepreventsthem from
26
engagingin this expressiveconduct,andmakesgun showsvirtually impossible.Qd. atfl\71-72.)
27
Procedurally,
Plaintiffs'FirstClaimfor Reliefrepresents
theirfourthattemptat asserting
aviable
28

t:r{
\l
I claim. Initially,PlaintiffsallegedthattheOrdinance
FirstAmendment themfromconducting
prevented
from enforcing
andviolatedtheirright to freespeech.To preventDefendants
2 theirtradeshowbusiness
(Docs.#1,#38.)AfterthisCourtdenied
3 theOrdinance,Plaintiffssoughtatemporaryrestrainingorder.
4 Plaintiffsfiledaninterlocutory
Plaintiffs'request, claim
appeal.ConstruingPlaintiffs'FirstAmendment
theNinth Circuitaffirmed.Nordykev.Kíng,319F.3dI I 85,1I 89
to theOrdinance,
5 asafacialchallenge
may qualiff as
6 (9thCir. 2003). ln evaluatingPlaintiffs' claim, the Court notedthat gun possession
7 speechwhenthereis "an intentto conveya particulari2ed andthe likelihoodis greatthatthe
message,

I Id.(citingSpensev.Washington,4ISU.S.40
messagewouldbeunderstoodbythosewhoviewedit."
Plaintiffsdid not allegethattheOrdinanceis directednarrowlyand
9 410-l | (1974)).However,because
possession
andbecause
1 0 specificallyatexpression, with expression,
of a gunis not commonlyassociated
)
.*¿ ll thecourtheldthatPlaintifß' facialchallengefailed. Id. at 1190.h a footnote,thecourtalsoindicated
¡r

O . g
U E 1 2 thatits holdingdid not preventPlaintiffsfrom bringingan"asapplied"challengeto theOrdinance.-Id.
* ) g
.eg I r ç
l3 at 1190n.3.
+(t)¡ o
Ë
a ! i t4 Seizingon this language,Plaintiffsfiled a SecondAmendedComplaint,re-castingtheir claim
¡-. 'X
tt) i
1 5 as an'ias applied"First Amendmentchallenge.2(Doc. #88.) Specifically,Plaintiffsallegedthat as
"Ðc .9úo E8
Ø 4 t6 by making
the Ordinanceviolatedtheir freedomof expression
appliedto their useof the Fairgrounds,
F O €
( ) ã
+) ¡& t 7 gunshowsimpossible.In supportof theirpositionthatgunpossession conduct,
amountsto expressive
,J to: (l) serveasmediums
1 8 Plaintiffsallegedthattheyhadhistoricallybroughtfrearmsto theFairgrounds
thatareinextricablyintertwinedwiththe actualfirearrr;(2) emphasize
T 9 ofpoliticalmessages themilitary

20 and historical importanceof guns; (3) instruct others about safe and responsiblegun storageand
2l handling;and(a) faciliøte legaleducationofthe publicoftheir rightsanddutiesasgunowners.(Doc.
movedto dismissPlaintiffs' claimpursuanttoRule 12þ)(6). (Doc.#92.) This
22 #97 at4.) Defendants
23 CourtgrantedDefendants'Motion, reasoning:
24 Basedon theseallegations,the Court finds that Plaintiffs havenot
adequatelyallegedthat they intendedto convey a partícularizedmessage
25 by pbssesiing g'unson Coúnty properly. SeeSpince v. Ilashington,4TS

26
2Plaintiffsfiled anAmendedComplaintinNovemberlggg,whichDefendants movedto dismiss.
27 However,beforethe Courtcouldrule on theMotion, Plaintiffs filed their interlocutoryappeal.After
theNinttr Circuit issuedits decisionandthe casecontinuedin this Court,Plaintiffsfiled their Second
2 8 AmendedComplaint,supercedingthe AmendedComplaint and mooting Defendants'Motion to
Dismiss.
I U-S.,405, 410-11(1974). For example,Plaintiffs' mere recital of
þolitical messagesthat'are inextricably'interfwinedwith the actual
2 firearm"failsto allegethe'þarticularizedí
-gun natureofttt" potiticui*"rrug"
a
beipg communicatedby possession- Frtth¿rñ;,- [inè" tñ.
J ambigu?usnatureof thé.aäeged"politicai message,"it ií cõmpieteìy
unclearfrom the faceof the cõmplaintthat the litèiihood *ur *"1uttftát
4 this message would be understodd btiú;;;dä;ì;;ä il:" "-
5 Plaintifß' additionalallegationsfare no better. clearly for gun
pqssgssion to constifutespeech,iheremustbe a concreteandñecessary
6 relationshipbetw_een_the-posse^ssion of the gun and the messagèËirÉ
communicated. SeeNordyke,3lgF.3dat lÏ90. ¡ tn otheiwõiAs,itrË
7 P.articularizedmessage being-communicated musttffinui" to* *ã U.
closely.tetheredto tñe act-uã!act of gu" possession." H.r", Þlãintiffs,
8 allegationsthat they intendedto comñrunícate the militarv án¿hË6;;
tmportance o{8uns,thelegaleducationofthe generalpubl'icaboutguns,
9 and instruct in safe andresponsib-Le gql riò.ágt-;d h*dilrrg *,
insufficient. Simply.stated,tireseallegãtiã* iã¿frth" i.q.tiiãã^""*ut
l0 betweenthe communicatþ (theparticü*irè¿ -.rr"g"i-;ãth; actual
i l act [off-gunpossession.Theie intendedcommunicatioárãi¿ ttôt rt"to
¡i 11 from Plaintiifs' actualpossessionof a gun. In faõt, ã*tt äi tfr"r"
O o l
messages coulclhavebeenclearlycommunicated withouttheuseof agun
U E 12 at all.
+ r È
( J ã
. F o l3 GivenPlaintifß' failureto adequatelyallegethattheirpossession
-li
1 4 ö
o
of gunsintendedto conveya particulairn.ríuÀé,ih"ir ¿?*;;óliãã" r'itrt
ô a -
t4 ,dmendmentchallengemust-fail. Accordin!þ, t¡. cãuñ-Cnaxrs
Ø = Defendants'motion [o dismissPlaintiffs' freädomof è*pr"rriõn claim
-c E E
"j with leaveto amend.

ïl
ËE
- Þ o
Ø 4 (Doc. #97 at 4-5.) Plaintifß subsequently
filed a Third Amendedand/orSupplemental
Complaint,
rõ5
( ) ã
rlr¡ Þ¡
whereintheyre-assert
their asappliedFirstAmendmentclaim. (Doc.# 100at 2g.) Inan attemptto cure

I ïl the deficienciesoutlinedabove,Plaintiffshaveaddedparagraphs85 and S6(a)-(g). (Id. at33


Defendants
n.5.)
now moveto dismissPlaintiffs' First Claim for Relief pursuantto FederalRuleof Civil
20llProcedure12(bX6).(Doc.#tOZ.)
II. Legal Standard

A motion to dismiss pursuantto Rule l2(bX6) teststhe legal sufficiency of a claim. Navarro
v.
Block' 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9ú Cir. 2001). Becausethe focus of a 12(b)(6) motion is
on the legal
sufficienc¡ ratherthan the substantivemerits of a claim, the Court ordinarily limits its review
to the face
of the complaint. See Van Buskirkv. Coble NewsNetwork, Inc.,2t4F.3dg77,9g0 (9'h Ch.2002).
Generally,dismissal.isproper only when the plaintiff has failed to asserta cognizablelegal
theory or
failed to allegesufficient facts under a cognizablelegal theory. SeeSmíleCare Dental
Group v. Delta
Dental Plan of Cal., Inc.,88 F.3d 780, 782 (gh Cir. 1996);Balísteri v. pacificø police
Dep,t,90l F.2d
I 696,699(9h Cir. 1988);Robertson
v. Dean lTitterReynolds,
lnc.,749F.2d530,534(9rhCir. l9g4).
2 Further,dismissalis appropriateonly if it appearsbeyonda doubtthattheplaintiff canprove
no setof
3 factsin supportof a claim. SeeAbramsonv. Brownstein,gg7F.2d 3g9, 391 (9û
Cir. 1990). In
4 consideringa 12(b)(6)motion,the Courtacceptstheplaintiff s materialallegationsin
thecomplaintas
5 true andconstruesthem in the light mostfavorableto theplaintiff. SeeShwarzv. United
Stotes.234
6 F.3d 42g,435(g'hCir. 2000).
7 ilL Discussion
I A. Plaintiffs'Federal
FirstAmendment
Claim
9 ' Thekey questionthe Courtmustresolveis whethergunpossession,
in themannerandcontext
1 0 inwhichPlaintiffshavealleged,amountsto speechsufficienttosustainPlaintiffs'
freeexpression
claim.
+) 1 1 Defendants
¡i contendthat,evenconsideringPlaintiffs'supplemental
allegations,
Plaintiffshavefailedto
O G t
v.5
r \ ' = t 2 allegethattheir actofpossessing
gunsqualifiesasexpressive
conduct.Specifically,Defendants
*)Ë argue
' <i 'H
)F
l 3 that the Third AmendedComplaintis "devoid of any specificfactual allegations
+ J o
regarding(l) any
v, Ë,
- ' ÐÃ ,
ô t 4 particularized
message
[P]laintiffsintendto conveythroughgunpossession,
and(2) anylikelihood that
ur=
g E t 5 anymessage will beunderstoodby thosewho receiveit." (Replyat 3.) plaintiffs, however,maintain
- i 3
+ r o
Ø 4 t 6 thattheyhavesetforth sufTicientallegationsto sustaintheir First Amendmentclaim,
i õ É
(.)õ
.E
.f_, l¡i
t7 To allegea viableFirst Amendmentchallengeto the Ordinance,Plaintiffsmustallegethatthe
,'¿ t 8 ordinance infringes upon speech.As detailedabove,certainconductmay qualify asspeechwhen
there
l i
t 9 is an intent to convey a particularized message,and there is a greatlikelihood that the audiencewould
20 understandthat message. Norþke III,3lgF .3dat I I 90. Thus,the Court must review whetherplaintiffs
2 l have adequatelyallegedthat their act ofpossessùrggunsat guns shows fits the definition of expressive
22 conduct. While Plaintiffs' prior allegationswere deficient in this respect,Plaintifß, Third Amended
23 Complaint containssufTicientallegationsto defeatDefendants, l2(bx6) Motion.
24 Looking at Plaintiffs' supplemental allegations more closely, in paragraph 86 of
the Third
25 Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs proffer eight examplesofhowpossession of a firearm atthe gun
shows
26 conveysparticularizedmessages.
Thesemessagesinclude:(l)advocatingthepositionthattheSecond
27 Amendment should be interpreted to protect an individual's right to bear anns; (2) conveying
the
2 8 messagethatpossessionofguns is patriotic; (3) celebratingandexpressingsolidarity with..gun
culture,,;

4
1 (4) expressingone's"friendl[iness]to gun ownersandhunters';(5) expressing"support[]
[for] the
2 NationalRifle Association's(andtheAttomeyGeneral's,andtheSecretary
of State's)interpretation
of
J the SecondAmendmenf';(6) displayingguns "for variouspulposes,includingbut not
limited to
4 commercial,education,patriotic andpolitical messages";
and(7) demonstratingsupportfor theprivate
5 ownershipoffirearms.Additionally,PlaintiffsallegethattheOrdinance
"chills" and/ormakes military
6 ceremoniesimpossibleby preventingJunior ROTC members,military reservists,and
veteransfrom
7 possessingfirearmsaspart ofmilitary ceremonieson theFairgrounds.Plaintiffs
alsoallegetha! ..gun
I showsare like stationaryparadesof innumerableideasandthemes,which the
United statesSupreme
9 Courtfounddidnotrequireaparticularized message to beaffordedFirstAmendmentþ]rotection, (/d.
l 0 at'1f86(g)(citingHurley v. Irísh-American
Gøy,Lesbíanand BisexualGroup,5l5 U.S. 557,56g
+l
¡r ll (lee5).
O q t
r ì ' =
v E t2 ReviewingPlaintiffs' new allegations,the Court finds that, althoughthe majority
of the
-is
+ , 8

* ¡ o
t 3 supplemental
allegations
sufferfromthesamedeficiencies
asthosein theSecondAmendedComplaint,
.3 .ë t 4 Plaintifß have sufficiently articulatedan intent to conveya particularizedmessagethat will
-ô- ÃE be
ø =
S E l 5 understoodby thosewho view it. Specifically,Plaintiffshaveallegedthattheir actof possessing
guns
c Ë E
Ø
|õ€
v
* ¡ o
t 6 at a gun showseryesto expresstheir firmly-heldbeliefthatindividualsshouldhavea protected
right
q ) ä
+¡ l& t 7 underthe SecondAmendmentto bearami:. Plaintifß havealsoallegedthat their act of possessing
lJ
l 8 firearmsconeysthe messagethat they "support[]the NationalRifle Association's(andthe Attorney
t 9 General's,andthe Secretaryof State's)interpretationofthe SecondAmendment.,,As plaintiffspoint
20 out,this message
hasspecialsignificancein Califomiain light ofthe Ninth Circuit's decisionholding
2 l thatthe SecondAmendment"offersno protectionfor theindividual'sright to beararms.,,Nordyke
III,
22 319F.3dat llgl (citingHíclcrnan
v. Block,gl F.3d gg, 102(9ù cir. 1996)).
23 Further,Plaintiffs havesufficientlyallegedthat thereis a greatlikelihood that observers
will
24 understandtheir messagethat individual's shouldhave a Constitutionally-protectedright to bear
arms.
25 Inparagraph s6(d), Plaintiffs haveallegethatthe attendeesofthe gturshow,manyofwhom aremembers
26 of the "gun culture", would readily perceivethat the individual carrying the weapon supports
the view
27 that individuals should have a protected right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Taken
2 8 together,Plaintifßhave articulatedaparticularizedpolitical statementthattheyintendto conveythrough
I possessingguns at gun shows, and that there is a great likelihood that gun show participantswill

2 recognizethis message.Moreover, Plaintiffs' messageadvocatingrecognition of an individual's right

J to bear armsis not merely closely tetheredto their act of possessingguns, but is actually embodiedin

4 suchconduct. Thus,Plaintiffs have sufficiently allegedthattheir conduct,at leastto the extentdescribed


5 above,constitutesspeech.3
6 With respectto Plaintiffs' remaining allegations,the Court finds that they are inadequateto

7 establishthat gun possessionamountsto speech.Specifically,Plaintifß allegethat possessinga gun at


I gun shows generallyconveys one's solidarity with gun culture and a person's "friendl[iness] to gun

9 owners and hunters." Rather than articulating particularizedmessages,these allegationsamount to


: 1 0 vaguenotionsaboutthe gunpossessor'sgeneralattitude.Likewise, Plaintiffs' allegationsthatdisplaying
-lj
¡r 1 1 firearms at gun shows conveys broad, categoricalstatements,including "commercial, education[al],
O o ¡
rY ). 'b ã 1 2 patriotic andpolitical messages,"also fail fcir lack of specificity. Furthermore,Plaintiffs havefailed to
. u =
c ) ã
.!r (J l 3 allegethatthereis a greatlikelihoodthatanobserverwouldunderstandanyofthesepurportedmessages.
+ ) o
u ) 6
â.Ë
l4 Nevertheless,Defendantsarguetha! evenifthe Court finds that Plaintiffs havesufficiently pled
ur2
.â. gã E 1 5 an asappliedFirst Amendment claim, Plaintiffs' claim fails because: (1) the Ordinance furthers a
{ J o
Ø 4 t 6 substantialpublic interest in protecting the safety of personson County property that is unrelatedto
É 8
( ) õ
+a fL t 7 suppressingspeech;(2) a sufficiently important govemmentalinterest in regulating non-speechexists
1 8 thatjustifies the incidental limitation onPlaintiffs' First Amendment rights; and (3) the Ordinanceis a
t 9 reasonabletime, place, and manner restriction. Each of Defendants' argumentsrequiresthe Court to
20 considerfacts outsideof Plaintiffs' Third Amended Complaint. Accordingly, theseargumentsexceed
2l
'In contrastto paragraphs60-67,whichthe Courtaddressed in its prior Order,Plaintiffs'have
22 now al,le,ged.that their useof a gun is intendedto conveya message.Previously,Plaintiffsmerely
allegedthatthe Ordinanceunlawfullyhinderedtheir abilityto speechaboutcertaingun-related issues.
23 Forinstance, in paragraph 60(b),Plaintiffsallegedthatthe
OrdinancepreventsPlaintiffJessB.Guyfrom
"conduct[ing]mini-seminars by displayingvariousactualfirearmsto illustrateto patronswhattypesof
24 firearmsdo and do not require registrationunderthe new California Assault WeaponsStátute."
However,!n that scenario,the gunsare not conveyinga message,nor is Plaintiff Guy engagingin
25 conductwith the gunin aneffort to conveyaparticularized message.Instead,Mr. Guy,himself,is the
speaker;the gunsaremerelydemonstrative aidsthatheusesto'While
reinforcehis message.Statedanother
26 Yay, ivfr Guyis speakingaboutguns,not usinga gunto speak. the OrdinancèmayprohibitMr.
Guy.frompossessing gunswhen conductinghis ieminar,it doesnot prohibit him from hbldingsuch
27 seminarsor otherwiseco-nveyinginformationrelatingto the gun registrationlaws. Accordingto
Plaintiffs'-supplemental allegátions,by prohibitingguñpossesslon, thõ OrdinancepreventsPlainiiffs
28 from speakingthroughthatcónduct.Thirs,Plaintilflhaüe now sufúcientlyallegedihat theOrdinance
chillsspeech.
I the scopeof a 12(b)(6)motion,andaremoreappropriately
raisedin a motionfor summaryjudgment.
2 The Courtwill thereforedenyDefendants'Motion to Dismisswith respectto
themwithoutprejudice
a
J to Defendantsre-assertingthe argumentson summaryiudgment.
4 B. Plaintiffs,State-LawFirstAmendmentClaim
5 In paragraph
72 of theThirdAmendedComplaint,Plaintifß allegethattheOrdinanceviolates
6 their right to freedom of expressionunder the Califomia Constitution.
Defendantscontendthat
7 Plaintifß' claim fails becausethe rights protectedby Article I of the
Califomia Constitutionarenot
I violated unlessa personhasbeenprohibited from speaking. According
to Defendants,becausethe
9 ordinancedoesnot prohibit anyonefrom speakingbut ratherprohibits
the possession
of firearmson
l0 county propérry',Plaintifß' claim fails as a matter of law. However, as set
. i forth above,because
*a
l l Plaintifß haveadequatelyallegedthat the ordinanceinfringeson expressive
¡r
conduct,plaintifrs, state
O 6
r- ). 'ãE t 2 law-basedclaimremainsviable.
+. :11
' qi ) Pã t 3 rV. Conclusion
+ ¡ o
Ø ö ,
ô g t4 For the foregoingreasons,the CourtDEI\IIESDefendants'Motion to Dismissthe
First Claim
Ø =
o¡tr l5 in Plaintiffs' Third AmendedComplaint(Doc.#102).
r - 9
c Ë E
+). .o
Ø 4 l6 IT IS SO ORDERED
Ìqt )€ã
iJ IL
t7
l-
l-
1 8 Dated:
September
? 7, zOos
MAR
l9 ATES DISTRICT JIJDGE
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