June 26th, 2008
10:26 AM ET
12 years ago

Justice rules city's handgun ban unconstitutional

 A gun ownership supporter holds a placard in March outside the Supreme Court in Washington.

A gun ownership supporter holds a placard in March outside the Supreme Court in Washington.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a sweeping handgun ban in the nation's capital, saying it violates Americans' constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."

Thursday's sharply divided 5-4 ruling gives constitutional validation to citizens seeking the right to possess one of the most common types of firearms in their homes. The gun control issue has been politically divisive for years, and the monumental decision is expected to have broad social and legal implications, especially in an election year.

Watch: What does the ruling mean?

The majority of justices disagreed with arguments that the Washington, D.C. government has broad authority to enact what local officials called "reasonable" weapons restrictions in order to reduce violent crime.

Full story


Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. AW

    Oh boy.

    June 26, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. JIM...TX

    About time......the argument that more guns brings more violence was nuts. The majority of killings in DC last year were by street criminals preying on the unprotected citizens. Cops can't be everywhere an the fact that law abiding people can have weapons now might help change that. And to you against guns...yes there will be accidents probably with innocent people but those will more than likely be minimal compared to what takes place on the streets of every city in the country.

    June 26, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Gas prices are soaring......and it is badly hurting Americans, and not only at the pumps. The ecomony is going down the toilet; foreclosures are increasing; rising healthcare cost; food prices out of control; and we are in or near a recession. And what do Americans worry about........their right to bear arms....so much for priorities.

    June 26, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. JB

    Look, if a city has thrown up their hands and said, we can't stop this crime. And this will do it, then how dare the Supreme Court.

    Maybe we should throw a holster on Scalia and let him get out there. We can put him the Southeast DC area, see how he does. Which by the way is another issue. The SE area of DC is a stones throw from the most expensive houses in DC (holding the likes of Kerry and Clinton) and it is a WARZONE. Politicians should be ashamed of themselves. They hang out in their multimillion dollar pieces of property, afraid to walk one block in the wrong direction, and yet, DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!!! Sorry, what was I saying. . . . . oh ya

    As far as I am concerned, I would be cool with ALL handguns being outlawed in the country. YOU DON'T HUNT WITH HANDGUNS!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Tony

    GUNS FOR SALE! CHEAP!! GUNS FOR SALE! CHEAP!!

    Courtesy of the Supreme Court.

    (Supreme Circus is more like it.) What fools.

    June 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Andy J, NY

    Criminals get guns either way. They will obtain them and use them, whether a law allows it or not – just look at the statistics: last year, 143 gun related murders... in 1976, when the law was enacted there were 135.... So, was the ban working?

    Think about this: if people are allowed to own hand guns, law abiding citizen will use them appropriately. If you have a law preventing people from obtaining hand guns, the only people who will obey the law are the people who, had they been allowed to own a hand gun, would have used it in accordance with the law. The criminals are going to obtain hand guns and other weapons, regardless of whether it is legal or not.

    Its like the lady's sign in the picture accompanying this article: Self defense is a basic human right, and guns should not be kept out of the hands of law abiding citizens.

    June 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Obama Supporter

    This really doesn't qualify as *political* news. Although it is exciting for the Court to finally address the scope of the right to keep and bear arms.

    June 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. BAD DECISION

    This is terrible. I grew up in the suburbs of Maryland right outside of DC. That is all you hear on the news, who got shot today. First the court thinks brutally rapping a child is not horrific enough for the death penalty and now they give an already gun violent community the right to legally own guns. It should be law that they must live in the community they make rulings for because apparently they live in a box and don’t see the damage being done on these streets.

    June 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. ProundToBeDemocrat

    Handgan should be baned to all citizens except police officers and military. why do civilians need gun for the is a lot of idiots out there. If every body is baned from owning a gan not need for self defense. Call the police if you have a problem.

    June 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Andy J, NY

    Law abiding citizens should be allowed to own guns whether its a rifle, shot gun, or hand gun. Look at what the Founding Fathers said about the right to bear arms- not just in the Bill of Rights, but some of their actual writings and thoughts on the subject. Their intent is clear and concise; the law abiding citizens of this great nation should be allowed to keep and bear arms.

    Thank you for upholding the Constitution. Score this one for the Founding Fathers and those who hold their ideas and principles near and dear.

    June 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Kenneth M

    WELL, PERHAPS THIS WILL MEAN MORE GOOD GUYS WITH GUNS. IT HAS NEVER MEANT MORE LESS BAD GUYS WITH GUNS.

    June 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Crush Rush

    The framers must have been thinking ahead when we would have to defend ourselves from enemies trying to take over our own Government and not just criminals in our streets.They must have known that BIG MONEY would try to overthrow the people.

    June 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Tony

    Next thing the Clown Court will do is to grant everyone the right to be a vigilante!

    ONLY IN AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Herman in LA

    Why not a gun after all America has become a violent country and folks need to be able to protect them selves.

    June 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Enlightened Voter

    Obama is a Constitutional Law Scholar, I'd love to hear his views.

    June 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Typical White Person

    And Obama will add more justices that agree with the 4 who can't read and thought that gun ownership is NOT a constitutional right.

    I guess we can go on clinging to our guns now without worrying...

    June 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. 2nd Amendment Lover

    A great day for America!!!!

    June 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  18. Saad from NJ

    Another 5-4 ruling! This one is not as bad as the one yesterday where 5 judges thought raping a child or many children and ruining their lives did not qualify the monster for a capital punishment but still, what is the matter with judges? Carrying guns is not a good thing – it results in unfortunate situations.

    I wonder if these are the same 5 judges as yesterday's ruling. If so, these 5 have lost their minds.

    June 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Andy J, NY

    Look at the statistics- Obviously the ban wasn't working. Law abiding citizens should be allowed to own guns. end of story. thank you, supreme court.

    June 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. Obama: 2nd Term Carter

    Glad to see they got this one right!!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. KIKI

    I just don't get this.
    How do you expect violence to be reduced allowing people to have had guns at their home.
    Some people will argue for self defence but tell me how many gun self defense cases do we have in this country per year compare to hand gun crimes or succide?
    That is silly.

    June 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. ron

    I believe any US citizen should have the right to have a gun in his home to protect it however there is no reason citizens should be allowed to carry guns in public any kind of gun.

    June 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Get Real

    Libs are 1 for 2 during the week......You managed to get terrorist rights but seemed to have lost on the gun issue. Next up for the Libs the "Fairness Doctrine". Trying to silence radio talk shows. You had Air America how did that work for you

    June 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Tony From Michigan

    Now for the million dollar question.

    Can I now carry a legally registered gun into any federal building in DC like the Supreme Court or the White House?

    Whats good for us people that need to protect ourselves is good anywhere!!!

    June 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Patrick

    This seems to be "legislating" from the bench?

    Why is it that "activist" judges give rights to gays...but when they say everybody has the right to carry a friggin HANDGUN..which is no where near the Constitution..this is just a "ruling"???

    June 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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