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. Marilyn

    Why not just arm everybody and have shootouts in the streets? I really wish I could afford to just leave this country and go live somewhere peaceful for the rest of my life!

    June 26, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Obvious

    "Obama's desire to ban all guns" This is rash, unfounded statement – care to cite any sources on this other than BillOReilly.com?

    June 26, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Excellent! Now will all you "it's only a collective right to form a militia" idiots please just go away! That was as imbecilic a sophistry as I've ever heard...

    June 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Peter E

    I wouldn't have problem with people using guns if they were trained properly, professionally, and responsibly. But they aren't. I'm tired of hearing about school-shootings where the kid got a hold of his father's handgun, who showed him how to work the safety, but apparently missed educating him about the value of human life.

    Until then I'd rather just have security guards do their jobs.

    June 26, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    Marilyn:

    Don't let the door hit you in the butt when you leave.

    The rest of us are trying to exercise our rights and privileges in this historical democracy called America.

    June 26, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    ET from OMAHA June 26th, 2008 2:04 pm ET

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Why allowing people to have guns at their homes or publicly carry hand guns and at the same time have a police in a city? what is the role of the police then? So are we
    Hand Guns possession by civilians should be ban and restricted all around USA period. Any civilian with a gun other than a hunting gun should be purely arrested, fined or detained.
    Go ask why the streets are safer in china or north corea.

    No it is not allowing people to render their own justice. You are only allowed to shoot someone if they are a immediate threat to you , someone present or them selfs. I live about 45 mins from philly and have had to call 911 for help before and it took them almost 2 hoers to find my house. As far as handgun ban i am sorry that you don't like our constitution.

    June 26, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    ET from OMAHA:

    The streets may be safer in China and North Korea–but if gutless communists ever try to take over in America and deprive us of our civil rights–they'll be shot!!!

    The Chinese and North Koreans do not have civil rights–nor guns.

    June 26, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. Peter E

    Imagine the following event, made more likely when everyone has handguns. You see a random person on the street draw their handgun, so you act as the immediate judge, jury and executioner (which, by the way violates due process, also in the Constitution) and fire... becoming a hero?

    ...Unfortunately for you a third person doesn't notice the bad guy. He only noticed YOU firing that gun. So he takes out his gun and shoots you, believing he just stopped a madman.

    Are you willing to sacrifice your own life for such cases. (which I'm sure you'll dub 'unlikely')
    I believe only properly and professionally trained people should have guns. And they're already called security guards and the cops!

    June 26, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Marilyn June 26th, 2008 2:12 pm ET

    Why not just arm everybody and have shootouts in the streets? I really wish I could afford to just leave this country and go live somewhere peaceful for the rest of my life!

    SO WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO FANTASY LAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Peter E

    So if everyone has guns, and just one person draws it in a crowded mall... okay, so the first person to shoot him becomes the hero...
    But what if, in that crowd, several other people didn't see the first gunman. They only saw the 'hero?' And, as a consequence, they immediately judge him to be a madman and shoot him. (hopefully on target, instead of randomly injuring bystanders)
    Is this the kind of self-defence you really crave?

    June 26, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Obama: 2nd Term Carter

    ET from OMAHA June 26th, 2008 2:04 pm ET

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Why allowing people to have guns at their homes or publicly carry hand guns and at the same time have a police in a city? what is the role of the police then? So are we allowing people to render their own justice?
    Hand Guns possession by civilians should be ban and restricted all around USA period. Any civilian with a gun other than a hunting gun should be purely arrested, fined or detained.
    Go ask why the streets are safer in china or north corea.

    CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
    Who is saying people are going to act like the police?
    If you want a place where handguns are outlawed you move to China and see if you like it. I will stay here where we have the laws to protect gun ownership.

    June 26, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. NoMcSame

    PUMA PAC people I hope that you are happy with your choise in this election. Hillary will not be voting with you this time. You all look so stupid in the eyes of all the world that I miss you guys on here sometimes. Your leader was on tv and he sounded about as stupid as you all do. Vote Mcsame what a shame. Give up and stop kicking against that stone and come on back home people. Help save our kids from McWAR. He loves the sound of body counts on the news every day. Don't be like him. Stand up to him. It's time to move on and put our house back in order. We must ALL stand behind Obama and change what is going on in Washington.
    Obama08

    June 26, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. Obama: 2nd Term Carter

    KIKI June 26th, 2008 10:43 am ET

    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.

    CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

    I will look up the facts on that. While I do you can tell us how no handguns mean no succide? There are ways of killing yourself besides guns. Going by what you say we need to get ready of cars b/c you can kill your with that…..get ready of rope b/c you can kill your with that…..and so on. Also tell me how you in the "real world" paln to keep the crooks from getting guns????

    June 26, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Peter E

    I live in Colorado and I still remember what free arms for everybody means: Columbine!
    They got it legally, were trained to use them, and the students stood no chance even if the teachers would have had guns. Apparently the one thing their parents forgot to train them in the use of weapons is the RESPECT FOR LIFE!

    I respect the Supreme Court and the Constitution. But I'm sure our forefathers didn't have these school shootings in mind.
    I'm all for self-defence IF somebody is properly and RESPONSIBLY trained. Otherwise let security guards and the cops handle it!

    June 26, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Peter E

    I expect to see an increase in school shootings in DC in the upcoming years...

    June 26, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Man Without a Planet

    I heard someone say that if McCain won they were moving to Canada.
    But if Obama wins where can one go?

    June 26, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Peter E

    True, it's what the Constitution says.
    Can we update the Constitution to also, finally include respect for LIFE???
    Sure your kid can be trained to properly use a handgun. But unless you also teach him to respect LIFE he's gonna be the shooter at the next Columbine-style school shooting. Do you really want that?

    June 26, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Vietnam Vet, DC

    Finally, law abiding citizens will be able to keep the criminals in DC who are always able to get a gun reguardless of the law at bay. For thirty two years beside the police the only people who had guns in DC were the criminals, you will find that over 60% of the Police Officers in DC do not live in DC and if asked, most of whom would refuse to live in DC if they weren't armed. I wonder why? The Supreme Court got it right.

    June 26, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Bruce (Chicago)

    I believe that Andy J, NY said the following in his 10:36 am post:

    "if people are allowed to own hand guns, law abiding citizen will use them appropriately."

    Can anyone explain to me what "using them appropriately" means? It means that they are being used TO SHOOT PEOPLE OR THINGS!!!

    If the government in DC decided that it was a good law to ban firearms in their area, why would the Supreme Court feel as though it is their obligation to tell them that they cannot enforce the law that was put into place to protect citizens... Whether the law was actually working is another issue, but for the Supreme Court to step in and supercede the law enforcement community who is on the groudn everyday trying to make their city safer, I think that's wrong...

    June 26, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. FREE AND THE BRAVE

    I don't think the court went far enough. Ill. and Wi. are the only two states left that don't allow cocealed carry, other than for retired police officers. Every state that has concealed carry, the crime rate drops tremendously!

    June 26, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Swiss in Canada

    What a day to celebrate....Finally! Everything will be a little easier: School shootings, gang crimes, murders....You don't have enough of them yet....

    June 26, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Bayousara

    It is unfortunate that there is no guarantee that those who support and enable guns in the hands of just about anyone who can lift one are not the same idiots who will get killed by those same weapons–either themselves or those they love.

    Instead, it will be MY family or even MYSELF!

    June 26, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. 2012

    ET from OMAHA June 26th, 2008 2:04 pm ET

    "Go ask why the streets are safer in china or north corea"
    ____________________________________

    Show me some documentation of that, please.........besides the official communist gov't propaganda.

    June 26, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Myth Buster

    "Oh yes, lament the THOUSANDS of children killed every year by an accidental shooting when they found their parents' weapon. " You mean the tens, not the thousands.

    In fact, a child is many, many, many times more likely to die in the family swimming pool than by an accidental shooting. And while each and ever loss is indeed a great tragedy (one I cannot possibly imagine), let us not blow these numbers out of proportion for political reasons.

    Given the hysteria on this issue, if our concerns were rightly placed, we'd be talking about Brady Bills for the back yard swimming pool. Pick up a copy of "Freakonomics" for more details.

    June 26, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    WATCH OUT FOR OBAMA. He wants to give the death penalty to pedophiles, but he doesn't want gang murderers given the same penalty. What is wrong with him?

    I would think a gang murder would be a horrible way to die. I think Obama thinks he is smarter than the Supreme Court members and most of America. I think he is an empty suit.

    If for some miracle Obama gets to the White House, he will take our guns away from us and take our money and give it to the welfare queens.

    June 26, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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