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. Tom

    As a resident of Illinois I feel sympathy 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 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steveo

    Happiness is a warm gun.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. aszure

    The majority of the time, a criminal isn't using a gun that is legally licensed to him. I think that this is great news for Chicago.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert H

    I marched with Otis at IGOLD and I am a member of ICarry,Nra, Isra and live in Crook County!!! King Richard has had his ban lifted now be ready for his spin on the law !!!!!!!!! If you live in Crook County run out and buy yourself a handgun today with PRIDE (while you can) !!!!!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tony

    Finally! Now I can legally own the gun that I currently have. Chicago gun law was crazy. All the criminals had guns, but law abiding citizens couldn't. Now I can legally own and legally protect my home.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rich

    I am glad they finally woke up and smelled the coffee. there are so may people out there that are against people owning fire arms, and that "guns kill people" but yet the law abiding citizen who legally owns guns get punished, and for those who are against firearms, I want you to do a little research, those cites/towns that allow people to arm them selves and there property there is less crime around that area due to you never know who is armed and protecting there property as where areas like Chicago, wash dc, etc.. all you ever here is people being killed because lawmakers would rather put a ban on a person legally owning a firearm instead of them allowing someone to own one and defending themselves.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Craig

    I am a Liberal and a gun owner and I am thrilled with this decision. Criminals do not obey the law and they will continue to prey on the week. All law abiding citizens should have access to means of self defense, both the weak and strong! cops cannot be everywhere.

    June 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steveda

    People are missing the point... guns are political power, short and simple. An armed populace was considerred the first line of defense against tyrrany. St. George Tucker, noted Virginia legal scholar said “wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour [sic] or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

    June 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    I keep seeing how the 2nd Amendment allows us to protect ourselves from criminals. This is incorrect. The 2nd Amendment is the 4th and final balance in our government. It allows We the People to protect ourselves from the GOVERNMENT! So is it any wonder the GOVERNMENT keep trying to take the guns away from We the People? There are 4 Supreme Court justices that need to be impeached NOW!

    June 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Citizena

    EVERY DAY I GET MORE AND MORE EMBARRASSED FOR THE ANTI-GUNNERS OUT THERE!!! IT IS QUITE PATHETIC. NO FACTS- JUST GUESS WORK. I USE THE WORD IGNORANT FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM. I SURE WISH THERE WAS A MORE INFLAMATORY AND DESCRIPTIVE WORD TO USE BUT (moronic)...
    THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION BESIDES ARMED, LAW ABIDING CITIZENS PROTECTING THEMSLEVES AND THEIR COUNTRY (from government) –PERIOD!! OUR FOUNDING FATHERS KNEW THIS AND THAT’S WHY THEY CREATED THE 2ND AMENDMENT--HELLLLLOOOO!!! TRY TO PROVE OTHERWISE. NO AMOUNT OF LAWS WILL PREVENT CRIMINALS FROM HAVING GUNS. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE FOLKS.
    LOOK AT REAL STATISTICS ON COUNTRIES THAT BAN GUN OWNERSHIP BY THEIR CITIZENS. THE CRIMINALS STILL HAVE GUNS AND CRIME INCREASED IMMEDIATELY. WHAT IS THERE TO NOT UNDERSTAND????
    CHECK THE LATEST FBI REPORT /www.fbi.gov/page2/dec09/crimestats_122109.html OH YEAH, AND IF THE FBI IS BIASED IN ANY WAY AT ALL, IT WOULD BE FOR THE SIDE OF THE ANTI-GUNNERS AS THE GOVERNEMTN WOULD ALSO LOVE TO SEE GUNS TAKEN FROM THE HANDS OF ALL CITIZENS. SO – THESE ARE UNBIASED RESULTS.
    OK – SO PLEASE ANTI-GUNNERS, GO SCRATCH UP ANOTHER TREE WHERE YOUR TRUE IGNORANCE WILL BE MORE SUCCESSFUL. TRY MOVING TO ENGLAND!!!! TRUE USA CITIZENS ARE TIRED OF HEAR IT!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Citizena

    EVERY DAY I GET MORE AND MORE EMBARRASSED FOR THE ANTI-GUNNERS OUT THERE!!! IT IS QUITE PATHETIC. NO FACTS- JUST GUESS WORK. I USE THE WORD IGNORANT FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM. I SURE WISH THERE WAS A MORE INFLAMATORY AND DESCRIPTIVE WORD TO USE BUT (moronic)...
    THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION BESIDES ARMED, LAW ABIDING CITIZENS PROTECTING THEMSLEVES AND THEIR COUNTRY (from government) –PERIOD!! OUR FOUNDING FATHERS KNEW THIS AND THAT’S WHY THEY CREATED THE 2ND AMENDMENT--HELLLLLOOOO!!! TRY TO PROVE OTHERWISE. NO AMOUNT OF LAWS WILL PREVENT CRIMINALS FROM HAVING GUNS. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE FOLKS.
    LOOK AT REAL STATISTICS ON COUNTRIES THAT BAN GUN OWNERSHIP BY THEIR CITIZENS. THE CRIMINALS STILL HAVE GUNS AND CRIME INCREASED IMMEDIATELY. WHAT IS THERE TO NOT UNDERSTAND????
    CHECK THE LATEST FBI REPORT /www.fbi.gov/page2/dec09/crimestats_122109.html OH YEAH, AND IF THE FBI IS BIASED IN ANY WAY AT ALL, IT WOULD BE FOR THE SIDE OF THE ANTI-GUNNERS AS THE GOVERNEMENT WOULD ALSO LOVE TO SEE GUNS TAKEN FROM THE HANDS OF ALL CITIZENS. SO – THESE ARE UNBIASED RESULTS FROM A PRO-GUN ASPECT.
    OK – SO PLEASE ANTI-GUNNERS, GO SCRATCH UP ANOTHER TREE WHERE YOUR TRUE IGNORANCE WILL BE MORE SUCCESSFUL. TRY MOVING TO ENGLAND!!!! TRUE USA CITIZENS ARE TIRED OF HEAR IT!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. speak for you self

    I bet none of you supporters actually live anywhere near the most impacted parts of Chicago the Southside or Westside where an average of 5 KIDS are killed each day during the summer. Yeah if those kids had guns themselves their would still be a dead child. Why don't you move your family into those neighborhoods for a while with the fear of your 10 year old being shot just for being on the porch. Yeah it easy to say what right or wrong from the outside looking in. Chicago is in desperate need of strict gun control, but most of you probably live in an areas where people aren't being shot all the time.

    June 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Curt

    THANK GOD! Illinois has some retarded gun laws, but finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, will this allow us to buy .22 rounds at the age of 18 again? Because when I was 18 i remember getting told I was not allowed to buy .22 LR rounds, however my 30-06 rounds were perfectly fine, and they had no problem bagging them for me. I always found that odd, that i could buy such a high powered rifle round, but I had to wait till I was 21 to buy a small round that could be put in a pistol, but is usually used for small rifles.

    June 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CA Curmudgeon

    The really disturbing thing about the ruling is that FOUR justices apparently cannot read.

    June 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Craig

    For all those who say guns don't protect people read this: http://www.thearmedcitizen.com/

    June 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
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