June 28th, 2010
10:16 AM ET
4 years ago

Supreme Court strikes down Chicago handgun ban

ALT TEXT

The justices said local jurisdictions still retain the flexibility to preserve some "reasonable" gun-control measures currently in place nationwide. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) – 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.

Updated: 10:38 a.m.


Filed under: Gun rights • Supreme Court
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Dano

    It's becoming more and more like the wild west every day. Can a state forbid a defendent from bringing a gun to his court hearing? Can the federal government forbid guns to be taken into the White House? Can an airline prevent a person from bringing a gun on a plane? So where does it end now?

    June 28, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Lynn

    Has anybody kept track of how many gun deaths occur in the U.S. during one year. I started Jan. 1, 2010 and now have 3 pages, typed single space, and I'm sure there are more I missed that didn't make Headline news. Does the Constitution really mean we all should have guns to shoot each other, or the militia which is the National Guard in modern days? That's the question the Supreme Court should be looking at.

    June 28, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Rosslaw

    I am sure that there must be many Second Amendment fans who just can't wait to carry handguns into the Supreme Court. Likewise, I'm sure Alioto, Scalia and Roberts won't have any problems with a crowd of courtroom observers with AR-15's and AK-47's strapped over their shoulders.

    June 28, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. hobart

    More Supreme Court hypocrisy. We can always count on them to cave to the NRA, about whom Kagan is right; the NRA most definitely are bad guys. How else does one explain their lies, hypocrisy and racist imagery on their own website?! Check out gunbanobama.com.

    June 28, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. this is a mistake

    but I can see where only arming the BAD guys is not good either

    June 28, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Seth in Jacksonville

    It's always 5-4 in favor of the right wing nutjobs. This is why we need a liberal appointed...it won't even change the court, so much as keep it the way it is. I'd like to see a 5-4 liberal tilt.

    June 28, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Gratified!

    The Supreme Court wisely threw away King Richard Daley's ill-conceived gun control laws that have been hobbling Chicago residents from defending themselves for decades.

    No doubt he will soon conjur up another potically motivated piece of gun control legislation that will also get tossed out by SCOTUS in a few years.

    One wonders how much safer the citizens of Chi-town would be had Ritchie used the millions that he spent on lawyers defending this onerous piece of unconstitutionality to hire additional law enforcement officers instead.

    June 28, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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