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. bisl

    Homicides in Washington D.C. for 2009 are significantly DOWN from 2008 (from 186 to 143). You people screaming there will be blood in the streets shouldn't be emotionally blinded and look up the numbers. Liberal intuition fails once again. I predict homicides in Chicago goes down after this. Anyone care to bet?

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

    The second amendment is clear; this should have been a unonimous desicion; furthermore this is an inalienable right. Shame on the 4 liberal justices.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. kilbush&cheney

    God RULES: Those the live by the GUN...DIE by the GUN!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      I`d rather be killed by a gun that a baseball bat. How are you going to go about your killing, as your name suggests?

      June 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. patton45

    looks like we can kiss Richmond and Oakland, CA goodbye..

    June 28, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lost it

    Yep... While all you right-wing ultra-Christian Caucasian Republican racist NRA-supporting G. Dubya-loving psychopath assult rifle and hand-gun lovers moronically wonder why America's crime rate is so high and why your kid just accidentally shot him or herself due to finding your gun in the closet, I'll be in England where gun crime is literally non-existent because (Get ready......epiphany!) there are no hand guns there!!! (Surely your tiny little brains can recognize the correlation there....can't you???) May your pint-up anger and your concealed handgun license get you killed one day...idiots.

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

      You moving out of country is now the second best news of the day. Enjoy.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Gun crime in the UK is not low. Their murder rate is low. Their violent crime rate is through the roof. You are far more likely to be a crime victim there than in the US. Sure, if you are involved in illegal drug use in the US, you have a sligtly higher chance of being shot. If youa re not involved with illegal drugs, you are safer by far here.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • BD70

      Actually I am a dirt digging tree hugger but still believe in the second amendment.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Whatthehell

      Why go to England when Canada is right next door.

      June 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      The more people like you that move the happier I`ll be. Adios!

      June 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DazedAndConfused

    So let me get this straight. I am allowed to carry a handgun with the assumption that I now have the ablitiy to defend myself against crimminals. Does this guarantee that I will 1) hit what I am aiming at 2) Know the difference between a "crime" and someone just making me angry at what they are saying (ie a protestor expressing THEIR right to Free Speech and their right to assemble) or 3) Stick around until the police arrive so that a body isn't left laying in the street or 4) be able to afford the potential lawsuit when I am now charged with the use of excessive force when dealing with the hardened crimminal that attempted to cause me harm..

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

      so basically you are saying you are not a rational and trust worthy person?

      June 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      If your ever faced with a situation like that and you going to think about all those things then your gun isn`t going to do you much good. You probably should not own a gun.

      June 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rollins

    i like my gun.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. FrankRicard

    Praise Jeebus...

    June 28, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Diamond

    Are there any studies of killings or woundings of an aggressor by the of use of handguns in defense of the shooter's home or family as a percentage of all homicides and injuries from handguns? If the oft-argued justification of the practical necessity for the right to own handguns is based upon the need for self-defense, do the real numbers support the conclusion?

    June 28, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom

    Looser laws = more guns, more guns = more dead people...plan and simple. Those guns in the household only end up killing your loved ones. The only perpetraters shot are those in fantasy land. Guns never protect anyone except police officers and solders which is actually what the "right to bare arms" was intented to protect us against. We are beyond this intent you idiots!

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

      Oh really? try reading this http://www.thearmedcitizen.com/

      June 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • paulk

      My parents, grandparents, my dads five brothers, two (that I know of) my moms brothers & sisters, my four brothers & I had or have firearms in the house. So far, zero deaths or injuries due to accidental shootings. This I attribute to teaching & training. I know there are "accidents" due to negligence or lack of training/experience, but I've never had to go to a funeral from an accidental shooting. I have had to go to one where an unarmed friend was robbed & shot and a lot more funerals due to other accidents (auto, burn, etc.).
      I never had to fire in self defense, but have I have had to display or warn twice, at which the persons (with as my son said had nefarious intentions), thankfully withdrew. A friend of mine unfortunately had to use his pistol. He was chased upstairs by two large druggies that were looking for money for their next score. To protect himself & his family, Dan dispatched one which sent the second running.
      I personally wish that before someone could get a firearm, they should have to show proof of training (reasonable, similar to a DL), but I also oppose limitations on the ability of someone (non-criminal) to own a firearm.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    I live in Canada where handguns are strictly illegal unless you subject yourself to endless licensing and permits. I used to think this was good thing but now there has been a surge of criminal activity involving handguns. This puts the average homeowner / business at an unfair advantage should they be subject to an invasion. Besides that, the criminals now have a sense of power and know very well they will have the upper hand 99.9% of the time if they use a firearm in a robbery or home invasion. I support the right to bear arms for this very reason. Keep the balance of power in check. It's just the type of world we now live in.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    If someone wants to use a gun to commit a crime (any crime) – I would much rather have the criminal guessing if their intended victim is armed or not. Might make the criminals think a few times more before committing a criminal act – wondering if their victim is armed and can fight back.

    If I'm going to become a victim and injured or killed – I at least want the option to fight back and not be a sitting duck.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. steven

    If Gun Prohibition worked, and all guns could be eradicated from the US, I would be all for it. But the fact is, gun prohibition is completely impractical and the people calling for the elimination of legal weapons need to face the tough reality that criminals will always be able to get their hands on weapons.
    Guns don't cause problems when law-abiding citizens are using them to protect their families. But for all you gun "enthusiasts" out there – don't make the mistake of thinking that guns can't have seriously negative consequences when they are introduced into a desperate or lawless society (like third world countries).

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

      yeah...........ridding the usa of guns is about as easy as getting rid of all the illegal immigrants.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    I believe in the right to own a gun to protect my family. I am a CWP holder and have trained with my handgun and carry it regularly. I am a law abiding citizen, and do not have a criminal record.
    Gun laws are only applicable to Law abiding people. Read that again if you missed it.
    Criminals will not follow Gun laws.
    You also cannot pass enough legislation to stop a criminal from obtaining a weapon. If they want a gun they will get one. Once again a criminal will not follow gun laws so they will obtain guns through unlawful means.

    If a criminal should take action with a firearm, say in a crowded area, the presence of a lawfully armed and trained citizen could save lives and maybe yours or your families. (There are many cases in the past that prove this)

    Those who do not feel comfortable with firearms should not carry. I fully support their wishes, but don't tread carelessly on the rights of others because of your fears. A lawfully armed citizen may just save your life one day, because most armed citizens have a strong desire to be a protector of others.

    I carry a handgun because a cop is to heavy.


    June 28, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • ImNoExpert

      Matt, you're everything that a lawful gun owner should aspire to, and the type of person that America needs tosee to help eliminate the negative stereotype gun owners have in this country in the eyes of some.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Thanks ImnoExpert,
      I take the responsibility of gun ownership very seriously. I believe that a lawfully armed society is a very respectful society... just look at Switzerland. I appreciate your comments.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. ProudAzGunOwner

    There are arguments both for and against gun ownership. However I do feel that it should be up to the individual and not the government on whether or not you want to own a gun. Furthermore, I think if you do wish to own a gun you should be required to take a firearms safety course so you not only know how to properly handle a gun but learn about the laws on using the gun and the repercussions on not handling it properly.
    Owning a gun is a deterrent to criminals and some, not all, think twice about robbing someone if they have the slightest inclination that they may be carrying a firearm . . . just my 2 cents . . .

    June 28, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
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