June 28th, 2010
10:06 AM ET

Court rules for gun rights, strikes Chicago handgun ban

In another dramatic victory for firearm owners, the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional Chicago, Illinois' 28-year-old strict ban on handgun ownership, a potentially far-reaching case over the ability of state and local governments to enforce limits on weapons.

A 5-4 conservative majority of justices on Monday reiterated its two-year-old conclusion the Constitution gives individuals equal or greater power than states on the issue of possession of certain firearms for self-protection.

"It cannot be doubted that the right to bear arms was regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as states legislated in an evenhanded manner," wrote Justice Samuel Alito.

The court grounded that right in the due process section of the 14th Amendment. The justices, however, said local jurisdictions still retain the flexibility to preserve some "reasonable" gun-control measures currently in place nationwide.

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer predicated far-reaching implications. "Incorporating the right," he wrote, "may change the law in many of the 50 states. Read in the majority's favor, the historical evidence" for the decision "is at most ambiguous."

He was supported by Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

soundoff (630 Responses)
  1. Victoria

    Rich, Federal dollars come from you and ME. The Federal Government has NO MONEY except for what they take from us. The money they take from me I have NO say in how it is used. I can't say, I don't want to pay for welfare, abortions, food for other countries, so your state does not hold water. All students going into College HAVE to pay activity fees whether they join a club or not. And

    June 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. steve

    Tim. You have someone breaking into your house and he has a handgun and all you have is a baseball bat. Who do you think would win. Chicago has had this ban in effect for some 29 years and recent escelation in violence proves that the ban has had no effect in gang members being able to obtain handguns. Let's see if Mayor Daley would go without his armed body guards. I think not. I had an incident a few years ago where someone kicked in my kitchen door. Luckily I was about twenty feet from the door. My handgun had a laser pointer affixed to the handgun. When the perp saw the light from the laser hitting landing on his chest, he took off running. Of course yelling "HEY" at the time helped as well. But all that was damaged was my door, no loss of property and most of all no loss of life.

    June 28, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Joe

    There is a lot more to this decision than just the old worn out gun debate. How will the liberal gun haters respond when they read that 5 conservatives defended the second amendment using the argument that a freedman (slave) would not be truly free if denied the right to bear arms? That takes the wind out of their entire race bating hot air puffery. Read page 46 of the majority decision.

    June 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. KrashKowalski


    June 28, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. turd

    Once you been targeted and shot at for no reason..then that's when you stoopid ignorant people will snap out of oompa loompa land. stop drinking the chocolate you fat @ss.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. van persie

    If you are worried about a tyranical U.S. government, your handgun poses little threat to the military. Buy more grenades and heavy ordinance

    June 28, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Kim

    4 "justices" who shouldn't be.

    June 29, 2010 at 12:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. NY Libertarian

    The bottom line here is that criminals DO NOT obey laws, any laws. Gun laws included. They are criminals for a reason. The idea that law abiding citizens having guns is going to put MORE guns on the streets in the hands of criminals is moronic. Here in NY, you are 100% responsible for your gun at all times. If it is stolen, it has to be reported immediately, or you can face your own charges...... I'm willing to comply with rules and regulations, and even training for CCW holders. But I'm from NY and already had to do all that to get a permit.......People who say "BAN ALL GUNS" are simplistic and not thinking.... Even if they banned the manufacturing of all guns TODAY.... there would be 10,000 "bootleg" gun makers popping up all over the place. And bet your butt that the criminals would know exactly where to guy them.... guns can be made in any number of thousands of metal shops and basements all across the world, so no ban, no matter how total and strict, will ever stop guns from getting into the hands of the wrong people....

    June 29, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jonathan

    We as Individuals have a right to protect our lives. NO ONE should deny a person that right. Criminals do not obey the law and they will continue to prey on the weak as they always have. Criminals have no regard for the law. Some felons have even admitted that they are FOR gun control. As it puts the victim at a disadvantage. A ban on guns would be about as effective as the ban on illegal narcotics. What we need is criminal control, not gun control. I was very happy to hear that the people of Chicago (both the weak and the strong) can now protect themselves. I know there are some that may disagree. However that doesnt justify taking away anyones right to self defense.

    June 29, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kurt

    Criminals are called criminals because they BREAK THE LAW. That being said, how is more gun LAWS going to stop a CRIMINAL or "OUTLAW" from purchasing/owning/using a gun in a violent crime?

    "When seconds count, police respond in minutes."

    June 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Charles

    What happens when the bad guy shoots your dog?

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jeff

    Julian, you clearly don't understand the second amendment. If you don't want a gun, then don't buy one. But don't deprive the rest of us our rights.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. John

    And when the criminal shoots the dog? Some of us choose not to adopt a victim mentality.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Kirkland

    Because a killer will kill your dog, and then you; because he's a killer. Not very logical. Do you hate dogs?

    June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Damon

    A dog? That's really going to stop a bullet?

    June 28, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
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