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. rusty_nail

    Julian, you are a 'bonehead'.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Homer

    Yup – America is going down the toilet. If we are lucky, all the gun owners will have one massive shoot out and kill each other. Then we will all be the better on this planet.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • snipe1

      Homer, if you don't like it here then GET OUT! You're free to move to England or anywhere else you choose without guns. The rest of us certainly won't miss you.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • CT

      So many fools that forget that the 2nd amendment is based on putting lethal means in the peoples hands to prevent the government from being tyranical...So quick we are to forget the revolutionary war when we said no more to the britts and killed our host government and formed our own...Take our means to do it again, and the government will take over. It is the DUTY and Right to bear arms for every citizen. Criminals have been around longer than the gun. Aim your attacks at them, and please consider getting a CCW and carry a weapon, it is your duty as an American.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      III

      Look it up. It is in your best interest.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Homer,
      go stick your head back in the sand...you'll feel safer

      June 28, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      You cant pick and choose which of the amendments to nullify just because you dont think its right. You want to nullify the 2nd amendment because you dont like it. What would you tell someone that wanted to nullify the 19th amendment so that women no longer have the right to vote, simply because they dont like it? You would tell them that everyone here is telling you.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason oh

      hopefully a stray hits u . thats the stupidest comment ever.if u do ur research 100 million LEGAL gun owners who knows how many there really are.

      June 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Nice way to start the week!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. ed

    The Republican Bagmen are waiiting for their bonus checks from the gun lobby.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Your insinuation that the Supreme Court Justices were bought off is disgusting and shameful.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • John K

      All this freedom scares me!

      June 28, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. MikeyD74

    yes because the original handgun ban did wonders for chicagos crime rate.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Stephen B.

    Julian, you're right, we don't live in the same kind of world that people lived in 200+ years ago when the 2nd Amendment was written. Our times are tougher and more dangerous and need guns more than ever for self-defense.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. casey

    this SCOTUS is going to set us back 100 years before they're through. it's a sad, pitiful, pathetic day for the USA.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Normal42

      Youre an idiot

      June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sandra

    Yes Jason, there is indeed a God. Just not for the reason you put that here. Having guns doesn't make you safer. It's just about egos and the NRA raising fears to raise money.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      That was an ignorant thing to write.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • AlienatedDad

      So what exactly is it that makes me and my neighbors safer out here in the boonies than all you concrete and steel cave dwellers ? The fact that law enforcement has response times that are measured in quarter-hour increments ? The fact that our nearest neighbors (i.e. witnesses) are usually 1/4 mile or more away ? Or, might it be the fact that most theifs / criminals realize they have a much higher probability of meeting armed resistance from us "rednecks" ?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Wags

    @Bogdan why is it effed up to be able to protect ourselves? What glorious country are you in?

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chad

    Oustanding victory!!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. MichiganLiberal

    That "crime-ridden city" already had the problem of too many handguns in circulation. Now they've got an even bigger problem, thanks to some activist conservative Supreme Court Injustices.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • ems870

      yea with weapons obtained ILLEGALLY you people are so ignorant on gun ownership as always hows about strengthening the punishments on illegally obtaining firearms. Atleast victims have a fighting chance.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • MichiganLiberal

      @ems870: From any distance beyond arms-length away from the armed person's wallet that contains the gun permit, a legal handgun looks exactly like an illegal one. An outright ban on having them inside the city limits greatly simplifies the job of sorting them out.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • ems870

      They may look the same but that handgun that i have is protecting my life from that same handgun a criminals gonna have...you can ban all you want....obviously that isn't working what was it just last week there were 7 shooting deaths mostly gang related? people dont seem to grasp the concept of "Criminal" they dont care about bans. they dont care about laws. There are thorough steps in place for legal handgun ownership that they dont get into the wrong hands. Know what i advise to you.....go take a gun safety class go to the range with someone that owns a gun you'll see

      June 28, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Most people would rather get shot with a "legal" bullet instead of an "illegal" one... Jokes aside, even though Im not a fan of gun rights, this is a precedent benefits the federal level of gun control rather than a state level approach.

      June 29, 2010 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bowme 1

    FANTASTIC!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    The next headline will be that 7 veins in Daley's head just exploded.

    Now let's get to work and get a concealed carry law enacted.

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

    Don't worry, just like DC, Chicago will invent a very difficult and expensive process to legally own guns, barring poor people from owning them. Oh, and the laws will be like New Jersey, where you can only take it out of the house to go directly to a range and back, not even stop at the grocery store on the way home or it's a FELONY. Ammo? Well, see, it'll be nearly impossible to get and very, very expensive. Hollowpoints? Illegal. Trust me.

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

    Hurray! Another victory for Americans' individual rights and another defeat of liberals' dictatorial cramdowns!

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