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. ed

    Crime decreased in the 90's because of the Clinton Adminstration. Almost full employment , previous deficits erased and the Clinton crime bill which aded 100,000 more policman.

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

      do you really think more cops prevent more crime?? cops do a good job, but they cant be everywhere all the time. and that is the moment of opportunity seized by the bad guys. in those instances, it s up to private citizens to initiate action to PROTECT themselves.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • BostonDan

      Read "Freakonomics". Discover what the biggest factor in crime reduction was during that time.

      June 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tom

    Statistics show that crime drops when law abiding citizens are allowed to defend themselves. States that have enacted concealed carry laws have proven this. If Illinois politicians truly cared about reducing violent crime instead of merely posturing for photo ops and pandering for inner city votes, they would immediately enact a concealed carry law modeled after the many states that already permit this. A large selection of studies appears here: http://johnrlott.tripod.com/postsbyday/RTCResearch.html

    June 28, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt S

    I can't stand to read any more of the anti-gun ignorance. My last few words on the subject-

    Logic: Criminals don't obey the laws. Gun control is a law. Criminals don't obey gun control laws.

    If you support this decision, be sure to "like" the page. Let's show them that honest, law abiding civilians support their decision to let government statistics, common sense, and logic prevail.

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

    Why does everone think 12,000 deaths a year is a big deal? Cars kill something like 40,000 people annually, why don't we ban them?

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

    Gun control simply does not work. If you think gun control works, please use Mexico as a pristine example. The gun laws and penalties in Mexico for owning or posessing a gun are severe. Today in Mexico the drug runners are killing civilians like shooting rabbits in the field. Chicago has plenty of gun violence. Badguys will use guns in this country and Mexico... that is just the facts... I personally don't want to go through a Mexico style slaughter to dramatically prove the point.

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

    Regulations a key. You should have to take a safety course but if someone really wants to commit suicide or harm other people, they will find another way. Just because you own a gun doesn't make you reckless. There are honest citizens that follow the law and have CPL's.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. BT

    No Bogdan, that's the reason the USA is the greatest country in the world. People like you, that think you know what is best for everyone, cannot push all your liberal ideas down on others without judicial review. If, however, you are from another country, then please seek life elsewhere.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jake

    Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Richp, Easton, Pa

    Those of you who are anti -gun MAN UP, put a sign outside your house proclaiming that your home is a gun free zone, lets see how that works out for you. Otherwise you are just riding on the shirt tails of those of us who are armed.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. BD70

    So because we now live in the 21st century no one should be able to own a gun? I don't own a gun but the right to is there if I choose to do so. I can't believe anyone would condone taking away rights from people. Most people (honest people) don't use other people to practice on. Criminals use whatever weapon there is on hand. Including a body part such as the hands. Glad the supreme court struck the ban down.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dave K

    When are all you anti-gun people going to realize that guns dont kill people! People kill people!!! Maybe you should ban Cars, knives, bats, lighters, etc... All these items are used to kill people every day!!! We don't hear you complaining about these things. You all have have one track minds. Lets face it, even if we were to get rid of guns all together, people would still be killing! Why shouldn't i be able to defend myself? The ban has worked wonders for the last 28 years. How about changing the laws to keep these nut jobs in jail permenantly! These people are constantly committing these horrific crimes, getting a couple years in jail, or PROBATION!!! and being put back on the street to do it again!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Recneps


    June 28, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. jonnie

    i live in chicago.
    im a pacifist.
    my pitbull keeps the crackheads out.
    but i cant bring her on the train when i commute at night
    but i will have my gun.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. all of america

    The supreme court is right on. Now they need to pass a federal law that there can be no more anti gun laws in the U.S. from this point on ,EVER! We need to crush the anti 2nd amendment morons for good !

    June 28, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Thoroughbred10

    The federally-protected right to keep and bear arms expanded to all 50 states. I'm liberal in nearly area of my politics except for my guns. It's a very good day indeed. Those conservative old b@astards are finally good for something.

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