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. Tad

    So now we get to spend the next 20 years watching the courts define "reasonable". Apparently, a total ban isn't it. So now what localities should do is require registration or something. Gun rights advocates will hate that, but they may have little choice.

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

      Only a dishonest individual would claim that prohibiting civilian firearm ownership is "reasonable". No evidence exists that imposing requirements of registration of firearms is "reasonable" either.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Tad, want to hear the really freaky thing? If registration is the answer, criminals are exempt. The fifth ammendment says " nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" which apparantly includes any official statment that would serve the same purpose. If you are prohibited from owning a firearm, but do so illegally, you can't be convicted for failing to register it. ONly if owning it is not a criume for you. The supreme court already cleared that one up for us. See US vs Haynes (1968). It's ugly, but it's the law of the land.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mike K.

    I'm glad we got these important rulings through before Obama loads the bench with lefties. Hooray for the NRA!

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

      The NRA is retarded. Support another liberty-loving organization that doesn't waste your entire donation on overhead and postage trying to get you to donate more.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Arthur

      We definitely do not need another Sotomayor on the SCOTUS.
      "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

      June 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David

    One more judicial setback. It's a real pity. Guns? Still? Grow up, America.

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

      I don't know about you but say someone breaks into my home in the middle of the night, I would like a way to protect myself.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      I agree with Fran. Growing up includes stepping out of your bubble where you think that there are no real threats in the world. Growing up also includes actually educating yourself about handguns and crime.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I consider it very grown up to take responsibility for one's own safety rather than rely on others.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • snipe1

      Yeah, real pity. Until you have aa illegaly obtained gun stuck to your head by some punk. I'll bet that would make you "grow up" just a bit. I think you'd be much happier if a citizen came along to your aid with a legally obtained and registered gun. Get out of your bubble – it's just a matter of time before it bursts!

      June 28, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jason

    For once they got one right

    June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Fran

    I have to say I believe this is a good thing. Chicago is a dangerous city and the people who live there should have every right to protect their lives and property.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dimensio

    You are correct, Bogdan. This court ruling should not have occurred; the city of Chicago should have respected the right of Chicago citizens to keep and bear arms without having to be ordered by a court to do so.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rob

    Finally some sense in Illinois – take that Obama!

    Time to open a gun store in Chicago as sales are about to go through the roof!!!!!

    Congratulations NRA on your fine work here!

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

      and what business do you have purchasing a handgun? Don't say hunting because they have no practical use in hunting

      June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Paragon Foundation also wrote an Amicus Brief supporting Mr. McDonald. http://www.paragonfoundation.org

      June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve In Iowa

      @hi..... apparently you've never been hunting? And if you have, you've ALWAYS had a clean kill shot? Makes much more sense to put a clean 9mm shot in the head of the animal instead of using another 12ga. slug or .308 from a high-power, doesn't it? What if you're attacked from an animal that isn't in your sights? Gonna turn around and shoot it with an arrow? Grow up, think before you spout off your uneducated comments. And do the rest of us hunters a favor, GO HUNTING sometime, strap on a side-arm, and see how much better the experience is for you!!

      June 28, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. rick

    America ... what a bunch of losers

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

      rick....please please tell me where you live. Would it be one of those contries we bailed out in WWII. SHOW SOME RESPECT!

      June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • snipe1

      What's wrong rick? A little envious? Go back to England or where ever the gov't likes to CONTROL you!

      June 28, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sweet Victory

    ahhhhhhh. Sweet victory. Sorry libs.

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

    And now we will follow Mexico...good luck everyone. The US is going backwards.

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

      How so? Mexican gun laws are VERY strict. A little research helps...

      June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Lulzmacher

      Okie:
      Mexico has the some of the strictest gun laws there is. You can't even own "military calibers" such as .223 Remington... which is a common cartridge for varmint hunting.
      Seems to be working out quite well for them. 😀

      June 28, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      We are already little Mexico haven't you been following the news from AZ?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nathan

    I'm all for the right to have guns and hunt, but the fact is you don't need a handgun!!! Handguns are designed only to kill people, and have no practical use other than that.

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

      Nathan:
      Your point? I have a desire to protect myself and my family.
      Not that it matters, that's not the point of the 2nd Amendment anyway...

      June 28, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • rentkin

      i hunt boar with a 44 long barrel revolver, much easier to move around in thick brush.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Actually, Nathan, hunting has absolutely nothing to do with the right to bear arms. An armed citizenry is one of the checks and balances against a military coup. Read Federalist #46.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Nathan, your argument depends from the assumption that killing is never justified or necessary. Tens of thousands of years of human history belie your assumption.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • ResponsibleOwner

      I'll tell you what. We will send you out on a hunt for Bear without a backup hand gun and see how you feel when your rifle malfunctions with a wounded bear looking at you!! I hope you can run fast!!

      June 28, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      You have obviously never been a victim of, nor had a close relative be a victim of a vicious criminal act. If you ever lose a loved one to a mugger for example because she wasn't taking her wedding ring off fast enough then you might begin to understand why a person might want to defend themselves and their loved ones.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. atlmoneyman

    Shall not be infringed...

    June 28, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. hi

    I have yet to understand why it is necessary to own your own handguns. If you hunt, go rent a rifle. Otherwise, I have no reason to NOT assume that you are purchasing a weapon to harm others.

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

      DownTownBrown:
      Oh, right. Because criminals will somehow get more guns because the ban is lifted...
      Oh wait, they already had them! But how can that be! Guns are supposed to be banned! 😦

      June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      Are you really that dumb? Well since you have purchased a car I have no alternative but to assume that you plan to go run over pedestrians on the street. If you need to go somewhere why don't you just take public transportation??

      June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • hi

      Am i dumb? No, but the statement you just made was actually stupid. Cars have transportation purposes. Guns have KILLING purposes ONLY. You are actually uneducated and I'm assuming that since you want to own a weapon you are going to use it to kill something. Give me a valid reason to own a gun, please. Learn how to fight for your own protection or learn how to use a knife. If you hunt go rent a rifle. Other than that you are stupid, and probably spending your money on pointless possessions

      June 28, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt S

      "Rent a rifle"

      Among many other problems with your logic, part of the responsibility of ethical hunting is a clean shot, which requires a lot of practice and a strong understanding of your firearms capabilities. Neither of these would be feasible under your plan.

      Think macro.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Pepster

      No, to defend myself from those who would harm me. I am alive today, because I had a gun when the rapist entered my home. He had already strangled one woman. I never fired a shot. He saw the HANDGUN and laid down on the floor. The police arrived 11 minutes after I called 911.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • hi

      You are forgetting that there are many other ways to practice with firearms other than buying one yourself and using it whenever you want. It is unnecessary to own a weapon. End of story. This is a handgun ban lifted. Handguns serve no purpose. Are you a cop? I assume not, so you have no right to be carrying a weapon.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt S

      "You are actually uneducated and I'm assuming that since you want to own a weapon you are going to use it to kill something. Give me a valid reason to own a gun, please. Learn how to fight for your own protection or learn how to use a knife. If you hunt go rent a rifle. Other than that you are stupid, and probably spending your money on pointless possessions"

      If you bought a knife for self protection, wouldn't it's purpose be for killing?

      Also, the majority of guns do NOT have a primary purpose of killing. Some people certainly carry for personal protection from humans and/or large animals but many people enjoy the recreational sport of shooting that requires patience, precision, and practice. (This describes the vast majority of my own friends, too.)

      June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • hi

      You can vouch for your handgun all you want. but you cannot say that because he saw your handgun that he dropped. You couldve had a knife and he wouldve dropped. Also, You are one person against thousands of others who may CLAIM to be using their handgun for good, but are actually just irresponsibly people who are out to harm others.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • hi

      your friends do not have to own a weapon to practice. sorry. I respect your opinion, but all of these arguments are easily shot down anywhere. Knives are used for many things and yes I know that is an argument, but most people who can own guns will buy them, and I know many people who have been shot and killed, especially my best friends cousin. No one belongs owning a HANDGUN

      June 28, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • hi

      And lets say a family member or friend of yours is killed, shot to death. The murderer was able to obtain that handgun because all of you support the ownership of handguns. Well, while your so called belief in being able to protect yourself got what you want, you also lost a loved one because you thinkt hat a weapon that serves very little purpose in our society as of being a citizen and owning one, should be completely legal and able to be purchased by anyone. This actually make me sick. I hope all of you rethink that

      June 28, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • dgraser

      that evidence that you are not an proud american to support the amendment being written.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Rightnyer

      Luckily, we don't have to justify ourselves to you.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I suppose you would think it fair, then, that any time you walk into a store, they can assume you are there to shoplift? After all, you clearly have Internet access, so you could just do your shopping online. I mean, since you think it is justified to immediately assume the worst of your fellow human beings and all...

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

      So are you claiming that the only reason police carry guns is so they can kill people?

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

      Well then I hope all of you end up being arrested for possession. And ummm, are you a cop? Are you considered law enforcement? No youre not. You are a citizen. What are your reasons for purchasing a handgun? Enlighten me, please.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Rough Choice for ya.

      Which would you pick...

      Armed Burglar is 1 min away from your hosue. and he is at large and dangerous and willing to kill.

      Cop is 15-20 minutes away.

      which will you defend yourself. a legal handgun or a Cellphone that you can dial 911 and wait for cop to arrive in 15 minutes later?

      rough choice for ya.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Obviously, Hi is on the 4 side of the 5-4 ruling, and the great thing about our country is the 1st amendment allows everyone the freedom to argue their view point all day long. The other folks here that support the 5 side of the rule (maybe a majority if my uneducated math is right) believe that we have the right to legally defend ourselves.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      Why own a handgun?

      picture this. A person enters your home with a knife, intent on doing you harm, you are 60 years old with some physically disability..you cannot fight this attacker hand to hand...so you shoot them...is this wrong? NO not everyone is some 30 year old martial arts/knife expert with no physical disability.

      June 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff

    Just another victory for the criminals roaming the streets of the U.S. But I think we have to look at Chicago's ban. It's 28 years old and it hasn't proven to work. There were 53 Chicagoans shot last weekend. Yep, in one weekend. That's just downright sad.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt S

      Your logic is flawed – criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. The handgun ban was law. Therefor, criminals did not obey the handgun ban.

      Of the 53 people you reported shot, how many of them were in legally owned guns? I'm willing to bet zero.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Bantry Ben

      How many of the 'perps' had a carry license?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Dude... That name is already taken by someone who doesn't support the nanny state.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    We need the 2nd amendment to protect the 1st. A great victory for the NRA

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

      The NRA are a bunch of wackos

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