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)

    Its about time.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • 1969er

      Yes sir. And, gee, I hope drugs are next. Would make a great mix with handguns! In Virginia, gun-toters are now welcome in bars! Brilliant!

      June 28, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Don't let facts get in your way 1969er. Guns have always been allowed in restaurants that serve alchohol in VA. We don't have bars, only restaurants which serve alchohol. When somone who is carrying a conealed weapon legally in VA enters such an establishment, he has tto move his weapon to an open carry in order to comply with VA state law. He may not consume alchohol while carrying his firearm openly.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Open Carry was already permitted in bars – you can carry concealed in VA after 7/1/2010 provided you do not consume.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A sad day for America

    The 5 activist Justices who decided to override the will of the people and strike down the ban should try living with their children or grandchildren on the South Side or West Side of Chicago or in another poor neighborhood where teenagers have a shorter life-expectancy than in Afghanistan without any of their special privileges (private and Ivy League schools, drivers, security, etc.) to see if they still feel the same way after a year or two.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Dimensio

      Why would living in a locale where the complete failure of imposed unreasonable firearms restrictions is directly evident alter opposition to those unreasonable restrictions?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Lulzmacher

      Or they could live somewhere else that DOESN'T have a restrictive ban and DOESN'T have all that crime.
      Which is largely believed to be spawned from the knowledge that Chicagoans (?) can't fight back.
      If you were a criminal, which house would you break into? The one where there might be guns or the one where you know there isn't?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Sorry its not the guns, it is the decades of complete Democrat rule. The crime, the hopelessness, the crumbled American dreams, the addictions, the poverty, all of this is the result of Democrat leadership. It is all by design to keep people voting Democrat, people with hope and pride vote Republican.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • rlj

      Violent crime FALLS when law abiding citizens have guns. Works every time.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Now they have stricken the ban, I think it will actually be safer in Chicago and they can actually move there as the criminals will not be the only one packing firearms.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • kilbush&cheney

      There is really no hope for the population of this ignorant country known as the US. Throw a fricking net over it and through it in with the oil spill ddo the rest of humanity a favor!!!

      June 28, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Eastvillage

    Yeah baby!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. E. Wilson

    Great news for the law abiding population, criminals haven't cared about these bans for years.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Matt S

    It's a GOOD day to be an American.

    This is basic logic; gun laws only impact those that obey the laws. I don't want to beat a dead horse but the governments crime and accident data illustrate a clear picture that LEGAL guns are not the problem.

    Illegal guns are the problem and we, as law-abiding communities, must work together to help police find the criminals who break the law. I don't care if you carry a gun, shoot recreational, hunt, or all/none of the above – get involved to improve your community.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. AZDavidPhx

    I have no problem with law abiding people owning firearms anywhere. The fact that these bans only serve to disarm the law abiding people in the first place shows how silly the entire thing is.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. julie

    this is why i hate america. guns=gun violence.

    london is the safest big city in the world you know why?? because they freakin have gun control.

    sometimes i think you honestly have to be brain dead to be conservative at this day and age

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Dimensio

      The violent crime rate of London is approximately seven times higher than the violent crime rate of New York City. I am curious: are you lying, or have you simply conducted no research?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      If you hate the US so much you are more than welcome to move to London, I sincerely doubt we will lose much sleep over you moving.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      Wrong Wrong Wrong.


      June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      You are so mistaken, London is not firearms free at all. The cops found out the hardway that criminals will always have guns and increasingly so. The problem of criminals with firearms was so bad that they had to come up with the concept of mobile armories to "rapidly" deliver weapons to officers to trying to apprehend them armed criminals.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      It is ironic that you are calling others brain dead, while asserting something that is so very very wrong. Yes, the UK has strict gun control. And the UK is also the country you are most likely to be the victim of violent crime, out of places we would consider civilized.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Eastvillage

    Bloomberg can stick it!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • NRA=angry white folks

      East village is no longer as dangerous Yuppie moron.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Diane

    Wait until your house is robbed, you may think differently about having a gun to protect yourself with. And currently in Florida, even if you have a Concealed Weapons Permit, you cannot bring the gun onto certain properties. We will always have prediators out there. I plan on going down fighting.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      I've heard this repeated over and over again, let me set it straight, home invasions are really rare, unless you are a drug dealer of course. Even if you are the victim of a home invasion a shotgun makes a much better weapon with which to defend yourself than a handgun.

      June 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben J.

      I concur with Nick. A handgun is what you have with you as you go to get your shotgun. Thankfully now I can legally own both.

      June 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    Supreme Court to Daley: Go pound salt.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. Doug

    Democrats murder people with illegal guns in all the blue areas, this is no reason to take guns away from responsible republicans. The reality is that a Democrat with an automobile is much bigger threat to take life, than a Republican with a gun. Visit blue America and check out the roads, this truth is undeniable.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • dhuff

      Heh. I live in (very Red) Texas and I can confirm that Conservatives behind the wheels of big-a** pickups & SUVs are just as dangerous, if not more so, than any drivers I've encountered back in the Blue Northeast or Calif. And being Texas, with its concealed carry law, those rude, homicidal drivers are probably packin', too...

      June 28, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hank

    Seriously, studies have proven that the properly trained and armed civilian does wonders to reduce crime. The knowledge of the criminal that the citizen could be armed is a great deterent. For all you "get rid of guns" fanatics, the only result in this action are dramatic Increases in crime and violence. Look up what happened in Australia when they banned firearms. Criminals do not care about laws, that is why they are criminals, and they will not turn in their weapons. Learn from others mistakes!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      "Seriously, studies have proven that the properly trained and armed civilian does wonders to reduce crime."

      The last thing any Democrat wants is a reduction in crime. The fear of being murdered, the young children being forced to join gans for security is just what every Democrat needs to hold people back, deny them their American dream, and keep them voting Democrat.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      So would you be fine if we required extensive handgun training before a person was allowed to purchase a handgun? That would make me feel more comfortable, maybe cut down on accidential discharges that kill family members.

      June 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Nick, accidental deaths are already pretty rare. Yes, you see them on the news, and they are sad, but they are not common. It doesn't take extensive, expensive, whites-only training to teach someone gun safety. It's not rocket science. Keep your finger off the trigger. If that's too hard, keep your booger hook off the bang switch. Always treat every gun as if it is loaded. And if you have kids, keep it locked up. Not with a trigger lock. See those first two rules? If you are treating your gun as if it is loaded, you don't go messing around with the trigger. You lock it in a box. If you might need it in a hurry, say, because you live in chicago, you lock it in a box that can be opened very fast. Look on the internet, quick access gun safes exist and work very well. Also look on the internet, and you can find videos of a ten year old boy removing trigger locks with a screwdriver. It's easy.

      June 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 2ManyGuns

    If concerned about personal safety, the SCOTUS should have argued for the use of knives instead . . . it's more ummmmmm . . . .. personal.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Bringing a knife to a gunfight, stupidity.....

      June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nikki

    Finally! And to all that think 'criminals' will now have more guns- you're an idiot. They will find a way to get a gun no matter WHAT the law says. That's why we live in America, you have the RIGHT to protect yourself and your family. Only taking the rights away from law abiding citizens. It shouldn't be a dictatorship and be told what we can and can not have. If YOU don't like that maybe YOU should move to another country.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gary Thomas

    Julian – what world do you live in? Criminal and thugs will always find a way to get guns – always! How do you expect an honest law-biding citizen to protect themselves. As for you comment about a dog – the criminal/thug will just shoot the dog first and you second! For Christs sake – use you brain – not your liiberal/Socialist logic. Hitler and Stalin would have loved people like you – lambs for the slaughter!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Anyone in chicago that wants a gun (illegally) can simply drive down the road to Gary, IN. The amount of guns flowing into cook county from indiana is staggering. They certainly aren't coming (in majority) from honest gun owners.

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