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. Patrick

    A victory for private individual rights! One step in the right direction. I don't own a gun but if I want to buy one I should have the right to do so. Proud of the SCOTUS today.

    June 28, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. groovygoober

    Whoot! About time!!! I'll bet $$$ that crime rates will go down when the citizens of Chicago are able to defend themselves.

    June 28, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. kd

    horrid decision. This country desperately needs to get the crazy right-wingers off the Supreme Court and get more moderate voices in place.

    June 28, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Rob

    The right-wing gun nuts strike again. Enjoy your pistols, right-wing wackos. While you're doing that, I'll play some Mozart on my piano. You see, I like to create. Not destroy.

    June 28, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Finally common sense has returned. Our rights are RIGHTS, And nothing less

    Daley, Bloomberg and the Brady gun grabbers must surely be wetting them selves by this correct ruling! And the liberals running the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia, the same... wetting themselves. Now what will they try?

    June 28, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Capt. Snarky

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Hard to believe that we had to have the Supreme Court interpret that. The Progressive Dumbing-down has been mightily successful on that front......

    June 28, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Steve

    It's not like it was working all that well anyway.

    June 28, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. USN

    Congress shall make NO LAW......seams pretty clear to me! And for now , it is still WE THE PEOPLE not us the government.

    June 28, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. Two Row

    Chicago overstretched and its good the Supreme court struck it down. I own a lot of guns as a sportsman but only one handgun and it is strickly for one thing – home protection. I live in a big City and would not live here without it. Hornet spray, pepper spray and mace will not permanently stop someone.

    June 28, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. U.S. Common Sense

    Since the Amendment was written so the people could protect themselves from an over-reaching government, the ban was clearly illegal, and the Supreme Court was right in this case. And this is coming from someone who favors strict gun laws.

    June 28, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    Let the gun slinging begin. If Aristotle could see our modern communication & information systems and compare it to our modern thought process, he'd be both amazed & disappointed.

    June 28, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. THE OBAMA STAFF

    Wait until they find out about Hillary under OBAMA's orders signed a home owners gun control pack with NATO> This pact carries all the way into America causing owning a weapon at home to be against the law making you subject to imprisonment. Ignorance is bliss. WHILE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WERE CONCENTRATING ON THE OIL SPILL OBAMA WAS DOING HIS DEVIL'S WORK IN DISARMING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NOW THE AMERICANS WON'T GET THE CHANCE TO VOTE. IT IS ALREADY A DONE DEAL.

    June 28, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Marcus

    So, basically, the SCOTUS has ruled that even mentally instable individuals have the right to have a gun and use it.
    Run for cover!

    June 28, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    All gun control does, is help the criminals, be the only people with guns. They obtain theirs illegally,.and then commit their crimes against those who then have no way to defend themselves.

    You can thank our corrupt judicial system, for protecting the rights of criminals, over the rights of citizens.

    June 28, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Please tell me what changes have been made in the wording of the Second Amendment since its passage in the late 17 hundreds. Guns have changed why doesn't the law reflect those changes?

    June 28, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. BillE

    Great, just what we need, more guns on the street. Heck, lets all just start shooting and let God sort em out.

    June 28, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. nkm

    Well, the 5-4 ruling seems to indicate that our justices interpret the Constitution according to their political beliefs.

    June 28, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Ron

    Another win for "The People"!! Everyone NEEDS to understand that once the federal government takes away the 2nd Amendment it is just a hop skip and a jump to taking away all the others. "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." Note: virtually all tyrannical governments in the past first took away the citizens guns then took away all their other freedoms. Yes, this is an important win to the stability and safety of this country!!

    June 28, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Steve (the real one)

    This ban had no, zero, nada effect on the criminal element and only punished legal, responsible owners! Remember the elderly vet who shot and killed theguy who broke into his home? Guess what! In spite of the ban, the criminal was armed! If that vet was not armed he and his wife would have been killed! I know some on the left won't like but this is a good call!

    June 28, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Debbie from Arizona

    You know, I heard Sessions this morning saying we don't need more activist judges on the Supreme Court, when he was referring to Kagan's confirmation hearings today. Well, it seems to me it's too late. We seem to have very activist Conservative Justices now, but I guess that's ok since they were Republican nominees. The present Supreme Court seems to be one of the move activist courts I can remember and I think we need even this out. I'm all for Kagan being our next Supreme Court Justice.

    June 28, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Luke Brown

    Under Alito's theory, Americans have the "guaranteed" right to own bazookas and even their own personal nuclear weapons... as long as they claim they are using them for self-protection.

    June 28, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. AJ

    I'm fine with this. What I am not fine with is the fact that Congress and the Courts do not allow guns in the buildings in which they make laws or decide cases that make it okay for gun owners to carry guns where the rest of us live and work. If they are going to subject us to possible gun violence, then they should subject themselves to it as well. Oh yeah, and the tax payer paid body guards should be eliminated as well. Its tinme for these people to live in the world where the rest of us live with the same amount of risk.

    June 28, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. jim

    where are all the conservatives who claimed obama was going to take guns away from everyone?

    June 28, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. Bertina

    This is the best way to reduce the surplus population.

    June 28, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Excellent!

    The next step is to get the Court to start tossing all the violations of the Tenth Amendment like Obamacare.

    June 28, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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