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. Robb

    I don't own any guns, but I think the Supreme Court was correct in its decision. Good for them in keeping the Bill of Rights rights. I should have the right to protect myself if I so choose. One of those wonderful fundamental rights, right up there with Freedom of Speech...

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

    Our war on drugs kills people. Legalize Mary Jane and we would be in utopia.

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

    "And Shepherds we shall be

    For thee, my Lord, for thee.

    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand

    Our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.

    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee

    And teeming with souls shall it ever be.

    In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti."

    June 28, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Cheryl, YES! They're lobbying power is very strong. But this sick world of guns and killing is what we live in. The world they construct for it's all about the money. And GUNS KILL! Make no mistake.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      I know their lobbying power is strong, right up there with the oil industry. Money talks. It is powerful. America will become, if it isn't already, one of the most violent countries to live in.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Imbecile

    Are all the gun nuts going to head into Englewood to celebrate with the residents of that neighborhood? After all, if people with guns are a good thing, Englewood must be the safest neighborhood in the city.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. JPT

    Was wondering regarding the apologists who claim that the right to bear arms to prevent government tyranny have considered the effects of a typical handgun or rifle on an Abrams MBT, Apache, or Bradley IFV. Can we really pretend that the guns that people have access to could stand against a coordinated military operation? If not, shouldn't we throw that argument out? Or should we promote that citizens have the right to .50 cal machine guns, TOW and Stinger missiles, and other higher firepower?

    June 28, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. kissem

    guns outnumber people in Ut and Wyoming 5 to 1. Why do they have the lowest crime rates in the country?

    June 28, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      And why is Norway, one of the countries with the lowest crime rate in the world, and they BAN hand guns? And their Policemen DON'T carry guns.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Norway does not ban guns. Norway licneses and registers them, with some fairly tight regulations. Their police don't carry guns, they keep their guns in their cars.

      Don't let facts get in the way of your fears.

      June 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matterofact

    Not sure I understand why so many are in favor of the ban.

    With a ban: honest citizens won't carry guns, but criminals still will. Thus, honest citizens are at a disadvantage.

    Without a ban: honest citizens can carry guns, and criminals still will. Thus, honest citizens neutralize the playing field somewhat.

    Why does anyone oppose this?

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

      If honest, good people didn't carry guns, criminals wouldn't have anyone to steal a gun from, to use in a crime.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • dani

      Cheryl- you're right. They couldn't steal guns then. Good thing there are so many black market arms dealers around. No need for those pesky criminals to go without!

      And on a side note, did you know that most violent crimes are committed by someone the vic knows?

      June 29, 2010 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Andy

    From the Palm Beach Post News:

    NRA gun instructor accidentally shoots Orlando student


    June 28, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl


      June 28, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Will 18E

    According to the Illinois Council Against Handgun violence, for 2007.
    There were only 613 unintentional shooting deaths nation wide, And 12,632 homicides.
    Once there are over 12K unintentional shootings deaths, and 613 homicides, maybe the radical anti gun group will have a point well deserving of being heard.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl


      June 28, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Another loss for the Obamy regime, but a win for the law abiding citizens of the United States.

    June 28, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. mokondis

    right along liberal lines, what a surprise!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Meck

    awesome!! supreme court absolutely got it right. people should have the right to defend their own families, especially if you live in Chicago, gun laws and restrictions have done wonders to curve that problem haven't they??

    June 28, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. turnbacknow

    Al Gore is a great man!

    Just want to see if CNN would post any of my comments

    June 28, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. kuntzer

    guns save lives
    yesterday a gun saved a man's life. A south knoxville man came home yesterday to find his home being robbed by two men wearing ski masks. the owner was carring a gun, the robbers attacked the owner. the home owner saved his own life by shooting and killing the robbers. one citizen saved, two criminals dead. win win.
    Two months ago another man's life was saved. A robber high on meth attacked the homeowner with a hatchet. the homeowner owner preserved his life with a shotgun. robber with hatchet died, homeowner lived. Another win win

    June 28, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
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