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. brian

    If there is any more conclusive evidence that these things don't work than DC and Chicago I don't know what they are. Both cities are plagued with gun violence and have been for years, regardless of these bans. Criminals don't obey laws and only the citizen is left unprotected.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. tiggymow

    Amazing, its about time the old fogies of the supreme kangaroo court got it right!


    June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andy

    I'm 62, Vietnam era ex-Marine sgt. and have lived in NYC all my life, sometimes in changing, sketchy, dicey areas. In all those years, I've never even seen a criminal with a gun. I think the Police in general are doing a fantastic job and I don't want to see a bunch of nervous, untrained, sometimes trigger-happy vigilantes YOU ALL!!! taking pot shots in our public streets. Let the cops do their work. Want to carry a hand gun? Join the military or the police force.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl


      June 28, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      There was a famous european leader who said something very similar back in the 1930s. Anyone who wants to use a gun can join the army or SS.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fred

    It's better to have a gun and not need it than need a gun and not have it.

    I've always found it amusing that people like Mare Daley and Rosie O'Donnell are vehemently against the 2nd Amendment, yet their professions allow them to have around the clock armed bodyguards.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. PrinceTamino

    Note the beginning of the end of the SCOTUS. It is on schedule to become just as politically motivated as Congress. This ruling is ridiculous.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gavin

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. John Morgan

    The ruling has nothing to do with guns. The Supreme Court (i.e. Federal Government) is simply demonstrating it's ability to impose it's will on the States. The issue is irrevelent.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bertina

    Yeah – this is the best way for more innocents being killed, legally owning gun toting people killing non gun toting innocents, and children getting their hands on their parents legally owned guns and shooting themselves and others. Good for this atheist, population needs to be reduced anyway, skeptic.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Yeah!! Anything to speed up American killing themselves.!!

    June 28, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Gavin

    "And when I vest my flashing sword And my hand takes hold in judgment I will take vengeance upon mine enemies And I will repay those who hase me O Lord, raise me to Thy right hand And count me among Thy saints ."

    "Whosoever shed last blood. By man shall his blood be shed. For immunity of god make he the man. Destroy all that which is evil. So that which is good may flourish. And I shall count thee among my favored sheep. And you shall have the protection of all the angels in heaven."

    "Never shall innocent blood be shed. Yet the blood of the wicked shall flow like a river. The three shall spread their blackened wings and be the vengeful striking hammer of god. "

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

    "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?"

    Of course there are, and they support your arguement, defensive killings are rare. But, that is not the point. Defensive uses of firearms don't have to result in death, or injury, to protect the perosn using the gun defensively. Currents numbers show the US military firing over 50,000 bullets for every enemy casualty. Based on those numbers, we really are on a peace mission in iraq and afghanistan.

    Surveys show that firearms are used defensively somewhere between 100,000 times per year according to an FBI survey of crime victims which does not ask about firearms or defensive measures, and 3,200,000 times per year according to a DOJ phone survey conducted during the clinton adminsitration. The best estimate seems to be somewhere between 1 and 2 million times per year, overall. I don't know of a breakdown between in the home and out of the home.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dave K

    When are all the 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 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Paula

    Yeah! Because as you can see, that gun ban was really working for Chicago...NOT! When will these people realize that no matter how much you ban guns, they are going to mysteriously appear and shoot people. 60 shootings in one weekend! Come on! The law abiding citizens always suffer. A victory for us finally!

    June 28, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. rojo

    " This day will go down in History. For the first time a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the World will follow our lead into the future".
    -Adloph Hilter, 1939

    Hilter took guns from his people, as did Stalin, and Pol Pott. It was done with legislation, followed by force.

    I have been a shooter my whole life, 25 years of safely shooting guns. I have never killed a person with a gun. Thugs and criminals kill people, not me.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Syphon Filter

    This is a tough debate. I can side with the gun owners, because theoretically it isn't the gun itself that triggers the bullet to kill someone, it has to have a person pulling the trigger to shoot the bullet, thus it's people killing people, not guns killing people. So I can understand where the gun right advocates are coming from. The real problem or solution is how do we get the guns out of the hands of the criminals. Because that's what Chicago lawmakers were trying to do. How do they create a law or punishment that deters people from having guns illegally or for the use of a criminal event. Anyway, best of luck to the city of Chicago. Congrats to the gun owners and the NRA

    June 28, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
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