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. USAF Staff Sergeant

    I agree, but I do think there should be tougher laws on M-16s or M-4s or the like. There is no reason a civilian should own them.

    June 26, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Randy M

    As one poster above said...all you read about in the DC papers is who got shot, so the ban was not working. People have to understand that most gun crimes are committed with illegal guns, not legally purchased and licensed weapons. Anyone who believes that banning guns will stop or slow gun crimes is simply living in a fantasy world. Criminals know where to get whatever they want. Guns, drugs, stolen property, it doesn't matter.

    Law abiding citizens don't know these things because we don't want to. Criminals know where to get all of this because they DO want to, it's that simple.

    June 26, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. mike

    It's funny to me that the two different sides of the issue don't pose any real threat to each other. And you can argue if this gun ownership and/or gun availability has any impact on crime till the cows come home but what I don't understand is why all the hostility.

    June 26, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. No activist judges

    As someone who has never touched a gun, let alone own one, I applaud this decision. Let's face it these judges stuck to the constitution as how it should be. Activist judges create rulings where they have no business in implementing upon the land. The constitution is there for a reason, it should not be construed "creatively". I'd like to see McCain in office and three more non-activist judges on the bench.

    June 26, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Martin

    The Answer to your question Saad is that only Justice Kennedy, the swing voter, was in the majority of both opinion. The "liberals" of the Court (Breyer, Souter, Ginsburg and Stevens) all agreed that the death penalty for non-homocidal child-rape was not a "proportional" punishment (See the 8th Amendment - no cruel and unusual punishment).

    The "conservatives" (Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia) were in the dissent yesterday, saying that the death penalty should be available depending on one's perception of the "heinous-ness" of the crime. Something that, IMHO, is not contemplated by the 8th Amendment at all - the 8th Amendment is not about reasonableness.

    Frm the discussion above, you can clearly see that the majority of the court switched from one case to the other. The "liberals" actually lost today; not having yet read the opinion I can only guess as to what it actually says, but again, I would guess that the four dissenters argued more for "reasonable regulation" of guns, than against the individual right to actually own a gun.

    Just some insights.

    June 26, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Matt-NE

    Obama was against it, before he was for it.

    Flip-Flopper gun owner hater.

    Vote Obama to help destroy the Constitution one Justice at a time.

    June 26, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Nick

    To claim that the victims of street crimes, were so because they didn't have a conceled handgun is ludacriss. Generally, those who are victims of street crimes would not be the type to carry a gun. If they were, how would this curb violence? When there is an altercation on the street between two people and one has a gun, one person loses thier pocket book and no one gets hurt. If both are armed, then one or both people ends up hurt or dead. How is this any better. DC is one of the most dangerous citys in the country. Citys and municipalities should be able to write and enforce thier own gun control laws to better suit thier own circumstances. This ban was only on handguns. It doesn't infridge on a person's right to bear arms as a whole, but only on the most easily concealed and therefore effective type of arms for urban crime.

    June 26, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. New Day

    I agree with the ruling but I disagree with the way that the 2nd ammendment is interpreted.

    June 26, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. JB

    This was a great decision made by the supreme court. Citizen should be able to protect themselves with guns against gun carrying criminals.

    June 26, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Anita from Arizona

    Wonderful news. It's about time.

    June 26, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Neal Klomp

    "Keep and bare arms" eh? Hand guns are not exactly what they were talking about. You KNOW that if those guys knew what a mockery we were going to make out of that compromise par of the bill of rights they'd have left it off.
    Hand guns are for men who feel insecure and woman with no sense.
    I will say that to anyone who owns a hand gun.
    It is much more likely to shoot you or someone you know than to protect you from some stranger.
    Hand gun ownership is based upon fairy tales from the moves not statistics and facts from the real world.

    June 26, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. anthony

    Criminals get guns by stealing them from people that have them. More guns just equals more guns. It has nothing to do with safety, it has a little to do with crime, and a lot to do with making gun manufacturers rich.

    June 26, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. John

    The Bush Legacy:
    Unparalelled profits for big oil
    Unregulated policies for big business
    Food and energy prices soaring
    Thousands of Americans, Iraqis and Afghans dead; trillions squandered in a war of choice
    NOW, unrestricted access to guns...

    I can't think of a better idea than loosening restrictions on guns at a time when frustrations and despair are at an all time high.

    But I guess as long as they and theirs have money and security, the Republicons don't really give a crap about anyone else...how Christian of them.

    June 26, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Anita from Arizona

    Do you think bad guys are following the law? No, they're going to get a gun any way they can. This was for the good guys who obide by the law which allows us to protect ourselves. Good decision.

    June 26, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Watermann

    The US is mourning about the more than 4000 victims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just count the number of people shot to death by handguns in your great country. Do you really think you can protect your family and home with a gun? Grow up and get rid of the lobbyists of NRA and similar "cowboys". Kiowas and Apaches are US citizens and the "bad" Russians don`t exist any more. I am afraid of only one thing. A "cowboy" in the White House and the BUTTON close to his fingers.

    June 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Dem in Chicago

    God help us.

    June 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. David in Chicago

    What is wrong with the USA? Why can't we get over our obsession with guns? I don't understand what is wrong with people's minds? The rest of the **civilized** world doesn't need to have guns all over the place. Why do we?

    June 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Greg in Arkensaw

    I'll bet the people of Zimbabwa wish they had a hand gun when the military showed up at their front door and hacked off their arms with machetes because they didn't want to vote to re-elect the dictator....

    You anti-gun fools need to read the world news once in a while to gain perspective on reality.

    Any bad guy that wants to break into my home has to ask himself the question.....does this guy have a gun...........outlaw all gun ownership and he will have his answer......now, he has to take a chance on getting killed if he breaks into my home......CASE CLOSED.

    June 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. bridgette

    I am glad because I should have the right too blow someone away if they break in my house or are threatning me and my family. And no I am not a member of the NRA. I just think people would think twice about breaking into your house or trying too car jack you if they weren't too sure if they were going to get a bullet in between their eyes.

    June 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Annette

    Oh, I forgot the city is changing, becoming more upscale...so now it's okay to own a gun in your home.

    June 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. JB

    ***The 2nd Amendment protects all the other Amendments.***

    Thank God. The US Constitution wins as does the American people. The criminals now have to think twice.

    June 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. ACFX1111

    All supreme court decisions are deciced by Anthony Kennedy. The others will always cancel each other out.

    June 26, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. J.C.

    I agree.

    June 26, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. oil rules

    To Scott, Wichita:

    I believe that was the great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D) who said something to the effect that people don't kill people, guns don't kill people, bullets kill people and tried to ban som black talon ammo or something like that. More great reasoning from another 'progressive' thinker.

    June 26, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Raymond Duke

    Thank God . I thought for a minute they might make another dumb decision like they did for the terriost.

    June 26, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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