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. Normal42

    Criminals might meet their match in Chicago for once...I love how the liberals on here are okay with gangs running around with guns but when law-abiding citizens can own them its a "sad day for America"...really? A sad day in America was November 4, 2008

    June 28, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • ems870

      couldnt agree more.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Those communities with the strictest prohibitions against firearms usually have the highest crime rates (New York, Washington D.C., and so on............

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

      homicides in D.C. fell 30% last year look it up...libs fail, again.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. An American

    Great news! Now we can legally possess handguns and protect ourselves. The liberals of this country tell us to get a dog to protect ourselves? We cannot always depend upon our police departments to be there to protect our lives. It is our right and duty to protect our families and ourselves. I have no qualms when I am threatened to use my gun. Better to be an alive gun owner that a dead anti gun liberal.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. steven

    GUNS DONT KILL PEOPL THE MAN OR WOMAN PULLING THE TRIGGER DID IT DUMMYS

    June 28, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sigh

    Guns don't kill people, people kill people... with guns!

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

      and knives, and bats, and . . . .

      June 28, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jim

    What would Wyatt Earp have to say? The country has never left the "old west" mentality. Despite, claims to the contrary the lying right is not pro-life.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    "don

    The Chicago ban on handguns does nothing to keep people from protecting themselves. What good is a handgun against automatic weapons. Ban Automatic weapons completely and then we can talk"

    What in the world are you talking about? Please show me where a criminal used an automatic weapon in a crime in Chicago. Do even know what an automatic firearm is? You know better and think people shouldn't own firearms
    yet you have no clue about them. Let me give you a hint semi-automatic does not mean automatic.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. gary

    I suppose it's like nuclear weapons...if everyone has one, rational people will be unwilling to start wars. Of course, the assumption is that everyone is rational.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Gary

    Texas has one of the lowest gun related crimes. It is very easy to get a conceal carry license (if you don't have a record). Criminals stop using guns in crimes when there is a chance someone will point one back..

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Brass Pair

    The majority of violent crime occurs in places where there are strict gun laws restricting the people! Thank goodness for the Supreme Court.

    The police do NOT protect us. They are there only to investigate the crimes AFTER they occur. It is up to US, the people, to stand up for our right to bear arms as it is us and only us who can protect ourselves.

    Criminals think twice in areas that have high gun ownership.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Martin

    I'm sure the judge will be lenient when people accused of gun crimes from Chicago are up in front of him. [\end sarcasm]

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. jsheas

    I'm disappointed in the Court's decision, but I understand the rationale, even if I don't agree.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Solo

    these comments are somewhat frightening. each of your are giving names and voices to the stereotypes that split this country apart. a house divided can not stand. how can we improve our country when we are constantly at ends with our neighbors and majoring on minors?

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. revdeb

    God had nothing to do with the decision. It is strictly a human decision

    June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jake

    You keep saying there have been 12000 gun deaths a year. I'm sure all of those have been from law abiding citizens turn criminal...

    June 28, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
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