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. placebo

    8 year old boy, accidentally exercises his second amendment rights.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. PracticalTactical

    One need only to remember that murder and other crimes were so out of control in Chicago in the recent past that IL was considering activating the National Guard to quell it. This does not happen in places with liberal gun laws, except for maybe in a post-disaster scenario. This has been a long time coming. First Heller, now McDonald. NEXT!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. joe

    hypocrisy prevails: it is ok for Feds to tell state and municipalities what to do if you agree, but not if you don't? Ego's abound: how many out there really have had armed intruders in their house or even know anyone who has? It is rare and you all know it. for those who had it happen, it is horrible and most know that a gun in the closet would not have help. Go down shooting/fighting, how ridiculous.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. bw

    not really. a defeat for people who don't have an interest in carrying a gun. i choose to live in a city in the east for a number of reasons, one of them being the lack of concealed guns (and republicans)

    June 28, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. ems870

    here.....http://www.gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/5.1/gun-facts-5.1-screen.pdf......you people against gun ownership can go educate yourselves for once instead of making up BS statements and facts. All those provided are true real life facts on gun ownership, i doubt any of you will take it into consideration anyways but go read that then make an argument.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    Actually, 1969er, the second ammendment doesn't protect militias either. It protects wells. The word "well" is right there in the ammendment, so that must be what is is about.

    That's sarcasm. The second ammendment says we need militias. It says the people have a right, and that the right is a right to keep and bear arms. You can't just pick a word at random and say "that's what the ammendment is about". You have to actually read the ammendment.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. bisi

    Why would anyone want a chance to defend their home?! Just let the government do it by calling 911.

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

      We live way out in the rural county. It takes deputies 30 to 45 minutes to respond. The only thing 911 does for us in an emergency is to record us screaming and let the coronor know where to do his job tomorrow. Criminals would do home invations in the rural parts if they knew we where unarmed and the help was more than 30 minutes away at them most. Go down to Mexico... they have all kinds of gun control there, it's super safe. Just call the police in Mexico... they will protect you.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • kilbush&cheney

      As Charles Bronson
      said in one of his epic
      movies, guns don't
      make me nervous......
      Idiots with guns make
      me nervous. 99% folks
      that own guns are idiots

      June 28, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • kilbush&cheney

      and I am including cops
      in the 99% of idiots that
      own guns!!!

      June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Ambiguous my ass

    June 28, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. mark

    great. now can we do something about the ammo supply? ordred cheap, bulk target ammo.. in DECMEBER. just got it. the fancy stuff took even longer.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • kilbush&cheney

      GOD rules: Those that
      live by the gun...DIE by
      the GUN!!!

      June 28, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. artrain

    I'm a liberal and a gun owner. When you outlaw guns, outlaw's have guns.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. David

    After reading some of the post, it is clear this is a sensitive subject. As a gun owner in Texas, I have them to protect myself, family and property. That is my right! I have a CHL for that reason. The "bad guys" don't care about laws; that's why I carry legally. With proper education/training, nothing is wrong with owning/carrying guns. I don't have them to "weed" anyone out like it has been suggested in other post. All the Chicago law did is keep honest people from protecting themselves. I'm just waiting for Texas to go to an "Open Carry" law like other States have in place already. And by the way, getting an aggressive dog (mentioned in other post) does not solve anything and opens up a whole other discussion.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. dstephens1884

    Dear Justice Alito,
    The grieving parents of Chicago's dead children applaud you.

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

      Are you saying law abiding gun owners shoot inocent children?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Byrd

    Fine. Let them keep their stupid guns. Chicago should ban the sale of ammunition.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ross

    Wow, sad day when the Supreme Court can no longer read and interpret English. The Second Amendment was created when there was no, or a very small, standing Army. We have that now. Everyone seems to ignore the first clause of the amendment, discussing the need for a militia. The people were the militia then.

    That being said, since we don't seem to have a will or a way to enforce gun laws, you can make a pretty good case for "only criminals having guns" If we really were serious about addressing gun crime, we could restrict both manufacture of guns and ammunition. It can be done. Europe apparently does it pretty well - compared to the US, gun violence in Europe is almost non-existent.

    The gun issue is similar to the tobacco issue - we know tobacco causes cancer, but we don't ban it because it makes too much money for powerful interests in society.

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


      June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. wayne Gage

    Oh that's just great, now all the criminals will have guns. Oh wait, they already do. Well the police can protect me. Oh wait, the police can't protect me, they investigate after the fact. I guess I'll just have to protect myself.

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