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. Sweet Victory

    for those that oppose gun ownership for self defense. Make sure you post a sign in front of YOUR house letting the criminals know you don't agree with gun ownership.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Johnson

    I'm not against people having guns, because bad guys have guns too!
    It's the poor regulation of who sells them that makes it unsafe.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Alyse1982

    I can't believe this, especially after Chicago skyrocketed to the #1 murder capital within only a few months of the new year (2010). As a Chicago citizen, it is terrifying enough knowing this statistic and the senseless violence that has erupted lately in my own "hipster" neighborhood without knowing that now everyone can own a handgun.

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

      Not everyone can own a gun. those with a criminal record can not. Only law abiding legal citizens would be allowed to purchase and carry. Who knows they may even save your liberal life.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lori

    American exceptionalism lives on, no matter how the socialists and nanny-staters try to drag it down.

    Good job SCOTUS!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. steven

    Guns will always be here....when guns are banned freedom is taken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      so if freedom is taken because of GUNS being banned, then is freedom also taken because marijuana and other DRUGS are banned?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sean Chen

    It's really sad that as a people, the majority has been led to believe that self-defense of self and loved ones is not a right, but a privilege.

    The 2nd amendment protects our individual right to defend ourselves with firearms.

    SCOTUS got it completely right on this one.

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

      it now gives anyone the ability to "DEFEND" themselves whenever they feel like. good one Sean Chen. can YOU think of ANY OTHER way to defend yourself besides a gun? no? then go back to school please and use your manners

      June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. rlj

    Thank God for common sense! Extensive, worldwide study by Harvard University found zero correlation between availability of guns and crime. Not little correlation, but ZERO correlation. In fact, despite a huge increase in the number of guns, violent crime in the USA has been falling for decades!

    Bogdan, you are an uniformed, ignorant fool.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Morgan

    YES!! More Amemricans committing suicide and killing their wives at the spur of the moment!!!! Love, Canada.

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

      Doesn't Canada have minimal gun control laws and minimal crime?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Eastvillage

      You Canadians have been sold that Eruo lie that takes your rights and guns away.
      Riots in the streets of Toronto?
      The celery nation is coming unglued.
      You guys are still "subjects" of the English Queen, right? What do you know about freedom?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. bw

    so much for a non-activist court. the supreme court may have outlived its usefulness.
    bush v gore, campaign finance rollbacks, and this. maybe its time to put the olds out to pasture.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Schon

    Julian, read the Federalist Papers #46 and you will see WHY the 2nd Amendment exists and WHY it will ALWAYS remain relevant to liberty.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. matt

    YAYAY now ANYONE can buy a gun much easier and shoot people. HORRAYYY for SHOOTING PEOPLE!!!

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

      I am curious; have you any actual rational argument?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. ed

    If the pro gun conservities and the tea baggers want their country back to the way is was, gun ownership should be limited to Muskets and Long Rifles.

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

      And we could also get rid of television, radio, and the Internet, allowing freedom of the press to apply only to hand-set type. Then we could get rid of cars, and allow freedom of movement to apply only to walking, horses, and wagons.
      Or, we could discard fascile arguments about technologies and focus on the the rights themselves, rather than their means of implementation. Your argument is staggeringly simple-minded. I would be ashamed if my 11-year old niece advanced one as childish.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. dgraser


    an victory for firearm owner

    June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Alma. Mater

    If you don't like the law of the land, fight (like we did) to change the law, or suck it up, or leave.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bantry Ben

    This is good news! Yay, NRA

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