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. vm001

    This is great news for all Americans. You should be proud to be an American and be able to defend yourself and your family. Furthermore, the Second Amendment keeps all of the other amendments in check. Without the right to bear arms, the other amendments are just words on a piece of paper. Both Democrats and Republicans should always vote to keep their rights. Anything less is insane.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Paul

    What would Wyatt Earp say? He would say, "check your guns at the city limit, guns are banned here in Tombstone". The most famous shootout in US history happened in one of the first towns that had "gun control". Look how well it worked out.

    As for "get a dog", that is terrible advice. You can't carry a concealed dog to protect yourself from crime. If a dog is strong and mean enough to have any effect on a criminal, that dog is a danger to everyone around it, and unlike a gun, can choose to attack a person without the owner pulling the trigger. On top of all that, a determined criminal can defeat a dog easily. Shoot the dog. Club the dog with a baseball bat. Pepper spray is highly effective against dogs, much more so than humans. Dogs are not effective weapons, however, if your advice is that people should use dogs as weapons with which to defend themselves, you are still saying that people should have weapons, you just want them to have a weapon you feel better about, because you like dogs.

    Love the way the banner ad lands on the post a comment box.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  3. John Zurich

    I support almost every liberal initiative; however, I own and carry guns. If anyone afraid of guns would visit our local gun club with everyone there armed, shooting perhaps million of rounds annually on premise and realize that the level of fear amongst these gun enthusiasts is ZERO, they might then understand that it is not the gun that is the problem. It is the criminal that is the problem. Gun safety, responsibility, education and respect are essential in ownership. Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is the real problem.

    We also shoot side-by-side with law enforcement and military at this club. You cannot believe how kind and helpful everyone is. I just cannot show up in an Obama t-shirt.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cheryl

    I am sure the criminals love this too......expect higher gun violence now......more shootings......more news of children getting ahold of guns in the homes and killing their siblings by accident or taking guns to school to kill teachers and classmates. Yes this was a great move for the conservatives! Wonderful ! We are all for guns and violence in this country and against nudity. Which is the greater evil ??? Which would you choose?

    June 28, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. B in AK

    What none of you realize is the 2nd amendment was never desgined for personal home protection, it was desgined so that the Government could not rise up and take over its citizens. Granted personal home protection is a perk and Im glad we had this ruling, but it was for the wrong reasons. We have bigger issues than personal home protection, the government is stripping us of our rights everyday when is America going to stand up and say enough.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Whatthehell

      When children don't know how to behave you take their toys away.

      June 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NoBama

    The second Amendment allow us the right to bear arms a s a right not a

    June 28, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Granted. Then again, one hears about so few drive by stabbings.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. BurnTHalO

    So, then comes the question of does this mean someone can walk around New York City with a bomb and police can do nothing? After all, arms is not just guns, but all weapons. Do people mind if I walk around city streets with a bazooka in tow? According to this ruling, this means that all these can now be done anywhere you wish, because this right takes precident over local laws.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Itsall Tuna

    It is no surprise to me that the biggest supporter of gun ownership rights are the gun manufacturers and traffickers. They make millions. They use individual rights to support the free trade of big honking firearms that get exported to our neighbors to the south. The makers and traffickers use the 'protection fanatics' to make it possible to sell death and destruction. Just review recent newspaper stories (you recall what those are) and count the homicides by guns versus the justifiable killings and wounding by law-abiding citizens saving themselves. Count the line-of-duty deaths of police officers. Better yet visit their memorial at Judiciary Square in DC. Count their names etched in the granite. Many of them were killed by legal gun owners while responding to a domestic disturbance call. Others were killed by criminals got their weapons from nice people like my mother who had three guns stolen, one after the other, until she stopped replacing it.

    And for you guys who thinks the government is going to subjugate you and take away your Liberty. Wake up, you don't have the firepower to win.

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

    Love it, here's to hoping that Daley drops dead of a heart-attack today on live TV!!

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

    Just think, out there right now is some woman who will one day soon, successfully defend herself against a rapist now.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tim

    Read the Chicago Tribune sometime. They had 40 people shot in one weekend. Good for you people of Chicago, now at least you can defend yourselves again.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kate L

    A victory for the NRA is a victory for criminals. While I agree that "criminals don't care about gun laws," WHERE do these idiots think criminals get guns FROM? They STEAL those lovingly-cared-for, prized possessions from law-abiding citizens who weren't home at the time to be John Wayne and hold the bad guys off with their fancy shootin' iron. Thanks for keeping the supply always available. Idiots.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Someone once stole my car and hit a person with it. As a result, I gave up driving. I figured I could decrease the number of criminals by reducing their opportunities to do bad things.

      I often dream of a time before guns and cars were invented. It must have been such a carefree utopia, totally devoid of crime.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl


      June 28, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. George

    Imatt had it half right. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" Yeah... people with guns..

    June 28, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. T.K

    I will never own a gun but I agree with this ruling. If you feel you need a gun for protection by all means, I had a friend who would be dead if not for a gun she used in a break in for self defense, I thank God she had a gun.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaysun

      I agree with your comment. It was fair, balanced and real. As many as 32 U.S. States now allow citizens to exercise their right to own and bear arms via concealled carry. I've personally witnessed home invaders armed with assault rifles turn and run when the homeowner fired on them with his own handgun. ( Several similar cases have been captured on video tape and is available on the Web for those who dare to open their eyes to raw reality. ) This is (as our President said "the United States of America.") As Americans who don't desire to own guns are not forced to do so. Likewise Americans who desire to exercise their responsibility & right to protect themselves with guns should not be prohibited from doing so.

      January 23, 2011 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
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