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. TwM

    Way to go Supreme Court, enforcing our rights as Citizens to bear arms. This law NEVER did anything to keep handguns out of Criminal hands NOTHING. The Criminals will always find a way to get guns from the black market, or where ever. This decision should have been unanimous but the 4 dissenting Judges wanted to make this a partisan issue. They should be impeached.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. RIckS

    THis is a good thing. I was NOT a big gun fan untill my late 30s when a close friend passed away. I purchased one of his guns to help his wife and estate...they needed the money. Anyway, I clearly understand now that the risk is for good law abiding citizens NOT to have guns. Criminals will always get their hands on guns if they want too. Criminals will not care if it's leagal or not. They only thing that keeps criminals in check is the thought that someone might own a gun and so they are carefull. I'm not afraid of normal people owning guns. I'm very afraid of guns in the wrong hands. If you can stop that 100%...I'm happy not to have guns. Until you do...let me keep my gun. It just might save someones life!

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

    About time. The statistics speak for itself. In the 18 years of the ban, gun violence actually increased with only the criminals in possesion of firearms. Now honest citizens will be able to fight back against the criminal element. For those who say guns are not needed in society today, they obviously have never lived in a high crime area with home invasions and armed robberies. I think they are actually more prevalent today then it was back in the Wild West. Criminals are regularly thawarted in the commission of crimes in states like Texas and Oklahoma, by armed citizens, but national media almost always fails to report it.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    Guns kill people just like keyboards misspell words.

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

      bill......isnt that suppose to be............."misspel"???????

      ha ha!!!!

      June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. LeftandRightNews.com

    The NRA must be ecstatic

    June 28, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. MoeSzyslak

    Might as well just give everyone a gun and unlimited ammo. We'd either be too scared to use the damn things or blow ourselves to Hell.

    Either way, problem solved.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    Done deal! Find something else to whine about.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ryano

    Homer your statement is ignorant....so just because a person is a gun owner they should die?

    June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. hhm

    "The 'right to bear arms' is outdated and not needed."
    Save your rhetoric for the criminal staring at you on the other end of his illegally obtained firearm!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Happy Right Winger

    This is my third attempt to comment, as your pop-up ad covered where I would put my email and my comment.

    I am very happy with this victory for the people. Government, get out of the way!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. EG

    I've never understood the whole liberal vs. democrat stereotypes when it comes to gun ownership. I'm very liberal, but I would be upset if the right to bear arms was taken away. I'm female and I just finally learned to shoot a gun last summer. My husband has guns and when we got married, I wanted to learn more so I wouldn't be afraid of them. Now, I'm hooked, and I had a lot of fun learning to shoot, maintain, and be SAFE around them. My biggest concern with having the right to bear arms taken away is one of keeping the government in check. If the government takes away the right to be armed, what's to stop some power hungry individual(s) from oppressing their citizens? Knowing that there is a potentially armed citizenship out there keeps the government from going astray in regards to military action against its own people. If you don't want guns, that's fine, too. It's like any other right, don't exercise it if you don't want to, but you should fight to KEEP those rights.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ragwng1

    Lets hear it for the good people.

    June 28, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    why is america effed up? Jason is happy that he can now protect himself legally. Chicago is known for being a crime ridden city so a handgun ban is clearly only helping the criminals prey on unarmed citizens. It is much like the stores the post up signs banning licensed handgun owners from carrying their weapons inside. Do you think that will stop a criminal? no, thats why they are called criminals. You only prevent the law abiding citizen from arming and protecting themselves.

    i agree it is sad that is necessary to carry a weapon but i will not allow myself to become the victim of a crime , the someone elses refusal to work for a living and need to take from others by force or allow my family to become prey to someones attrocious physical desires. I carry concealed everyday but i hope i will go to the grave having never drawn my weapon against another man. I agree that carrying a firearm is not for everyone because it is a very difficult decision for a person to make but we should reserve the right for our fellow citizens who pass thorough background checks and training to carry their weapon for personal defense. I

    June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    Time to buy some Smith & Wesson stock, I think!

    June 28, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. rick

    Here are gun-related deaths per 100,000 people in the world's 36 richest countries in 1994
    United States 14.24;
    Brazil 12.95;
    Mexico 12.69;
    Estonia 12.26;
    Argentina 8.93;
    Northern Ireland 6.63;
    Finland 6.46;
    Switzerland 5.31;
    France 5.15;
    Canada 4.31;
    Norway 3.82;
    Austria 3.70;
    Portugal 3.20;

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

      How many were by licensed carrying gun owners? Thanks for making my point.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Factor out the Democrat made war zones with 100% Democrat rule for the last 4 decades, a key part of their great society plan, and America becomes the safest nation.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • stevenabb

      Ohhh please... your bullcrap statistics is saying that Mexico has less people killed per 100,000 than the USA? Oh please, 27,000 people where killed in Mexico last year out of a population base of 120 million. That's about the same as the USA with a population base of roughly 300 million. Well, if you think Mexico is safe... go there!

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

      Clever, but misleading. We all know about the three kind of lies, right? Lies, darn lies, and statistics. Your stats are from 1994. It's 2010 now. Your stats are gun related deaths. The US is unique in that the most popular form of suicide is by firearm. You are including most US suicides in your stats, and few non-us suicies. Ok, maybe you think gun control would stop people from comitting suicide. Foolish, but ok. Truth is, if guns were less available, people would choose other methods, just like in the rest of the world.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
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