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. shane

    Owning a gun will not stop you from getting robbed.....you just better hope you are quick to the draw because more than likely the criminal will already be pointing their gun at you. Good luck ith that.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. carlos

    you anti-gun nuts realize this ban even prevented ownership for home defence, oh and by the way what would a dog do if a home invader had a gun......thats right nothing. No body should be able to tell me in what manner i am allowed to defend my family. Oh yeah, the criminals do go to nicer neighborhoods to commit crimes since there is a higher chance of a lucrative haul.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. The Scy

    All this charged comment and no one points out facts.
    Cities without gun laws, have lower crime rates. There will always be "bad" people, whether they are mentally disturbed or making bad choices. It is my right as a citizen to be free enough to defend myself, it is my wife's right to defend herself. The police and court system are a mop up squad. I'd rather prevent the crime then punish it.
    BTW prevention also includes programs to help people not have to resort to crime and seek treatment if they have mental issues.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. ed

    Too bad that an IQ test isn't required or gun ownership, there would be less guns & less deaths.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Martin

    time to leave Chigaco and move North to Canada.

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

      LOL- why are people so scared of this? NOTHING will be noticed. What, your neighbors now might be able to purchase a gun? You afraid of your neighbors? Then you are just a scared little person.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • stevenabb

      Actually, you should move South to Mexico! They really have gun control down there... it's a gun control advocates dream country.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. A Fan (Go Cubs)

    Come to Arizona where we have some of the loosest gun laws in the country and you would think we would be having mass murders in the the street everyday but what do you know not a thing has changed and now everyone has the right to own, protect them self, and carry concealed almost anywhere you want to. Its time to let the "law abiding" citizens protect them self where ever they go in this country of ours !!!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Whatthehell

      Yeah, Arizona is well know for having a large population that is living under the poverty line. Rural areas have much less gun crimes then Urban areas and the laws need to reflect such.

      June 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. writingmomma

    I truly wish responsible gun owners will really think it through about how many guns they have in their homes. You see, if a burglar breaks into your home, this means more guns on the street to hurt innocent women and children. I don't feel it is anyones right to tell you that you can't have your guns, if they are used to protect your family, home, or hunting for food, (not sport). But, there is no reason for anyone to have a large assortment of weapons in their home. Just because you teach your children to shoot, doesn't mean they are going to be responsible gun handlers either. So, don't shout hooray, hooray too soon!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeyD74

      i only need one gun momma. to me anything more is a waste.

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

    Everyone adapts – so may criminals. They may choose to shoot first preemptively. Much before you, or a member of your family can draw one.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff

    Now we get to see what crime statistics do in Chicago. Will they go up, down or stay the same? My prediction is that this will help drop the murder rate. This is what happened in DC with the first year after the repeal the city hit a 45 year low in the murder rate, and as of today is projected to be 15% lower than last year.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bob H

    If you were to tell a country like the UK that you were going to allow EVERY person in the country to have a gun in order to 'protect' themselves they would laugh at you. The idea that you have to have a gun to protect yourself is crazy as every other country in the world knows. The US has the highest murder rate – I wonder why? Could it be we have the most guns? Common sense is lost on this issue – therefore we need new people on the Supreme Court to deal with this foolish idea –

    June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      Could it be we have more People. Check out the facts: Violent crimes in the UK far exceed our own, even though they don't have "guns" . It is OUR RIGHT to own firearms, you don't like it move to the UK.

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

      Bob- check your facts. We have more stabbing murders than any other country also. IS that because we have so many knives? Nope. We are a more violent country- I cannot tell you why, as I am not versed in why. But we are, and it is sad.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tom Legare

    I guess I have to say I kind of agree with this one. The bans have largely been ineffective anyway!! Maybe it's the one right that we really need. Guess will see where it goes!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. gary

    The Supreme Court should life all restriction. Guns should be allowed in the Court...and in the Capitol and White House. And, why not on planes? The Court has already ruled that you can have a gun in an airport or in national parks...even in bars and churches. This should begin to satisfy the NRA.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. rick

    Frank your are an ingorant man.... please travel and see what you are missing..... you do not live in a great country they just tell yiou that from the time you turn on your TV for your classes

    June 28, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. Happy Right Winger

    A handgun is not to hunt. It is too blow the head off of a criminal trying to hurt me or my family.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. steven

    WOW PEOPLE ARE CRAZY OK SAY OBAMA BANS HAND GUNS AND ALL THE CITIZENS WILL TURN THERE GUNS IN AND U REALLY HONESTLY THINK ALL THE CRIMINALS WILL TURN IN THERE GUNS HAHAHA PASS WHAT U SMOKIN.

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