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. damiao

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com spread this blog for friends, daily updated with English Tips.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. JPT

    An interesting observation is Somalia, where nearly everyone (who can walk) has a gun, and there is no government. An ideal situation? The issue is one of moderation. Regardless of wht the gun lobby would promote, no right is absolute. People and organizations regualrly get sued or fired for irresponsibly abusing their rights under the 1st Amendment. Similarly, there are limits on state's and individual rights which are also set forth in the Bill of Rights. My request is quite simple: what does the NRA consider to be a reasonable limit on firearm rights? And does that comport with living in a civil society, i.e., one where the rule of law typically provides greater protections than living with a gun?

    June 28, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. turnbacknow

    Guns kill people like a sppon made Rosie O fat!

    June 28, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. zack

    Obama can suck my left nut. He will never take from me my belief in god, the gun from my hands, or my love for liberty. I will have liberty, or i will die fighting those (government included) who would take it from me. THAT IS THE AMERICAN WAY!!! Read your history if you have any doubt.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steven P.

    I wish CNN would put up a poll and see, among those commenting, how many of those who are unhappy with the decision live within the boundaries of any of the 20 largest US cities in suburbs within 10 miles of those cities and how many who are happy with the decision live in rural areas or small towns. Each of these populations live under different conditions and that is why it is reasonable and necessary to have gun control in urban areas. All the rest of you can have the comforting thought that most gun owners are as careful as Dick Cheney when he goes hunting. And I know just how idiotic and unsafe a lot of gun owners are because I was an NRA certified gun instructor and saw a lot of stupid things. But what had me stop being instructor was when my best friend from high school was killed by his father one Thanksgiving while home for a visit because someone attempted to break into the house and my friend’s dad thought the sound of the front door opening was the intruder leaving when in fact it was my friend, his son, giving chase or trying to get the license plate number of the car speeding away. Of course we will never know for sure, he died instantly.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. cyborg51

    With all the weapons coming across the borderand illegals that are armed and don't care, it is good to see armed Americans capable of defending their home and family.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. HDCaesar

    A good ruling but what is scary is that it only made it by one vote. A 5-4 majority is too damn close in my book.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. cyborg51

    I guess the government can review state gun sales and then show up and take weapons from your house. I heard something about this a while back.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sara

    I live in Boston. Everyday someone is murdered with a gun. Someone's child is shot. But I guess that really doesn't matter. Can I just say though it cracks me up that conservatives think that they need to "defend themselves and their property" with handguns. What about the police? Have we lost all respect or need for them? Why not just do away with local police departments and let people inflict justice with their guns! Heck, who cares if the person is guilt or innocent! Just blow 'em away! You get into a traffic altercations, shot the other driver! Guns are stupid. If you really want to kill someone, be a man and do it with your bearhands!

    June 28, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. BobB

    Thank goodness that the people of Illinois can enjoy the same right of protection that the rest of the states can.
    My permit is good in 34 states and many states have reciprocal benefits. Illinois has zero. The Supreme Court corrected a wrong that the corrupt politicians in Chicago refused too.Are the lives of Chicagoans cheaper than the lives of those eleswhere? The Supreme Court didn't think so.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Erik

    I would really like to see a study done on the correlation of rising firearm sales and the decline of crime in this area.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jMichele

    Let's just all get guns and starting shooting each other – someone cuts you off in traffic, shoot em. Someone butts in line in the grocery store, shoot em. Some kid is picking on your kid shoot the kid, their parents and the dog.

    Republicrits are always talking about "activist judges". Can we all agree that the 5 right wing majority are the most activist judges this country has seen in decades. You reap what you sow, and this is a sad day for civility in this country.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tim L

    @ J News; Even in illinois you are allowed to use deadly force on someone that has entered your house to either Rob or do bodily harm. It is justifiable homiside. Look it up. it is only considered murder if you shoot them outside your house.. so make sure you drag them back into the house and clean up any blood outside. just saying.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      That is a total myth. It's not where you shoot them, it's why. If you are in fear for your life, you defend yourself, in or out of the home. IN some states, breaking into someone elses home is considered convincing that the intruder would be willing to kill somoene, so that strenghtens the case for self defnse. But if you move the body, that is convincing evidence of wrongdoing. If you have to make your case look better, it wasn't good enough in the first place.

      June 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    As a resident of Illinois I feel sorry for what the law-abiding people of Chicago have endured for the last 28 years up to today. However, if you ever voted for Mayor Daley, then you are part of the cause of your own problems. Daley has consistently has staged scene-of-the-crime photo ops in an attempt to appear tough on crime. In reality, he's done nothing except cynically use the suffering of other people to pander for votes. His anti-crime efforts have been completely ineffectual. Why? He doesn't want them to work, not when he can buy inner city votes running as a crime-fighting mayor. Expect him to fight this new ruling also, despite overwhelming evidence that it will help diminish the rate of violent crime. He wants to remain mayor more than he cares about reducing crime.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tim L

    also here is a tidbit for you on the radio today 25 people have been killed in chitown southside in the last 2 weeks. so it would seem that only the criminals and gang bangers are not adhereing to the rules on hand guy ban in chitown city limits.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
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