Court: Yes, Chicago, there is a Second Amendment

It will take some time to digest all 214 pages of opinions in today’s Supreme Court ruling in a gun-rights case. But this much is clear: A 5-4 majority of justices said gun-ownership rights are “fundamental to the Nation’s scheme of ordered liberty,” and that city and state governments therefore can’t deny them.

Legal scholars will debate the way the justices went about affirming the “fundamental” nature of the Second Amendment; there was some disagreement even within the five-justice majority. But the key to the case, titled McDonald v. Chicago, was whether the Second Amendment is truly integral to our system of government.

As Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, the Court had already answered that question in its Heller decision, which struck down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia:

Self-defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day, and in Heller, we held that individual self-defense is “the central component” of the Second Amendment right. (Italics original)

If the thorniest of our policy debates are, to use a football analogy, played between the 40-yard-lines, Chicago’s ban on handguns, even those kept in homes for self-defense purposes, was an attempt to pin the pro-gun rights crowd inside its own 10-yard-line and keep it there. With that said, gun rights will continue to see pushes from policy makers on both sides of the issue. As Hans von Spakovsky wrote in a Heritage Foundation blog item:

The Court clearly said that some government regulation of guns is allowed. But how far can state and local governments go? How burdensome can their regulations be? Can they decide to allow gun ownership that will enable a homeowner to protect himself and his family in his home, but prohibit the concealed carrying of a handgun? All of these questions remain unanswered by today’s opinion that was decided by a narrow one-vote majority.

So, please: No comments about how this decision is “radical” or “dangerous” or anything of the sort. The only thing here that was radical was the Chicago ordinance that has now been struck down sent back to a lower court, which will almost certainly have to strike it down. [edited at 11:48 a.m.]

297 comments Add your comment

opus

June 28th, 2010
11:51 am

Guns and religion are for wimps…..

ByteMe

June 28th, 2010
11:54 am

This decision was more of a “punt” than anything. They didn’t decide anything specifically other than that the second amendment — like other amendments — can have limits, but not many limits.

Which just means it’ll create more cases for years to come as judges argue over what’s the second amendment equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

Jefferson

June 28th, 2010
11:58 am

Not a big deal to me, now go make hay.

BPJ

June 28th, 2010
12:01 pm

It appears that, while outright bans are unconstitutional, a variety of regulations would be constitutional. Examples would include restrictions on sales to nuts & crooks (don’t you love it when I use those technical legal terms?), banning of various types of firearms (e.g., bazookas) and bullets, and probably registration requirements. On that last point, the argument against registration has been that it was a prelude to banning guns. Now that we know that banning guns is not permitted under our constitution, registration shouldn’t seem so scary.

andygrdzli

June 28th, 2010
12:13 pm

As a concealed carry permit holder, it was the right decisions. For 99% of the honest and legal population, laws will be followed. For the 1% nut jobs, no matter what law is enacted, there will individuals that break the law. What we need to do, is prosecute the offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
I am a retired military officer, 60 years of age, and can still place a tight patter at 21 feet. I am also a member of the NRA, and I joined just about a year ago. I very seldom carry a gun, mostly when my wife and I travel. I hope that I will never, ever have to use my gun for self defense. I hope that I can always protect my family by other means. If it is a material item, take it, I can replace it. If you threaten my life, or that of a member of my family, I will go toe to toe with you. You will never know I have it, and in states when you can open carry, you still will never see it, I don’t believe in that.
In Chicago recently, if I am not mistaken, from 6:00 pm on a Friday to 6:00 am on a Monday, there were over 40 shootings, reported on ABC and others. I don’t think those involved were law abiding citizens. I think we need tougher laws governing the purchase of handguns. I think better investigations are required to protect the innocents.
After 20 years in the military, I never witnessed a gun just going off and shooting someone. I have seen human errors that caused guns to discharge. If you are going to own a gun, attend training and then practice, practice and practice.

mrs. w.

June 28th, 2010
12:13 pm

If you outlaw guns for someone like me then only the criminals will have guns. While I am not yet to the point that it (they) goes where I go; I do enjoy having a couple in my home – just in case. Can you imagine living in Chicago and not being allowed to have a firearm!!

Kyle Wingfield

June 28th, 2010
12:17 pm

BPJ: The onerous registration requirements in the Chicago ordinance were part of what the Court objected to, if my cursory, partial reading of the opinion is correct.

jconservative

June 28th, 2010
12:20 pm

Expected decision based on what the Court did in the Heller decision. And the strong resemblance to the words of Heller were expected. Those lovers of the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause just received another vase of roses.

You 10th Amendment lovers just took another hit.

But we 2nd Amendment lovers need to look closely at Justice Alito’s words just as we looked closely at Justice Scalia’s words in Heller.

Alito’s words: “In Heller, we held that the Second Amendment protects the right to possess a handgun in the home for the purpose of self-defense….We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as ‘prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,’ laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings,’… We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms.”

Note the words “…the Second Amendment protects the right to possess a handgun in the home for the purpose of self-defense.” Whether I can carry a .38 under my armpit to a UGA football game is still open to debate.

But the bottom line is that after 219 years the Court has ruled that the 2nd Amendment applies to the States. And although expected, it is still great news.

CJ

June 28th, 2010
12:21 pm

Second Amendment: “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.”

But for the five activists on the Supreme court who, ignoring the portion of the Second Amendment they don’t like, created a right that doesn’t otherwise exist in the Constitution. The right to keep and bear arms is the right of a State to form and maintain a “well regulated militia”. Such a right was not delineated for individuals.

Under these rulings by the five Supreme Court justices faking judicial restraint, what legal option do we have to keep a homicidal neighbor from stockpiling assault weapons? For that matter what legal option do we have to stop Kyle from building nuclear warhead in his basement or Jim Wooten from collecting surface-to-air missiles? As far as I can tell, since “Arms” are undefined in the Constitution, the answer is none—no legal option exists.

The number of gun deaths that occur in the U.S. relative to the rest of the industrialized world already demonstrate the dangers of our love affair with weaponry. This ruling will only lead to more death.

We ignore the first half of the Second Amendment at our peril.

Port O'John

June 28th, 2010
12:30 pm

On the front of the NRA building in DC, they have inscribed only the last clause of the second amendment:

“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.”

Al that stuff about a “well regulated militia” is nowhere to be seen in NRA dogma. Given that the GOP and NRA oppose preventing even people on the no-fly list from buying guns, it hard to have anything like a rational debate on the issue. We expect the guvmint from stopping suspected terrorists from building bombs, but they sure as heck can have all the guns they want. Now that’s consistency.

What is interesting is that in the case of gun rights, is that the “originalists” (Alito, Thomas, Roberts, etc) choose to ignore basic grammar and sentence construction of the second amedment. When the constitution was written, there was no plan for a standing permanent army, thus we needed militias. The constitution drafters saw the need and included the language “well regulated militia” in the Constitution. Which is precisely the wording the “Originalists” choose to ignore when it serves their political purpose. We have plenty of angry white male militias running around (their membership roles expanding after Obama was elected) but they certainly aren’t anything like “well regulated.” The answer is that the “Originalists” only believe in sticking to the original intent of the constitution when it serves their political beliefs.

This is just another political decision by the Supreme Court. Given the majority’s inability (or unwillingness to provide guidance) they will very likely strike down any gun law that comes before them and play the old game of “guess what I’m thinking now” with states and local governments that try to wrestle with the issue. If the majority really believed that baloney about allowing “some regulation” they could have easily laid out the test for it, but they did not, which means their just saying that nonsense to keep us hoping that maybe, just maybe, there is a place where carrying guns would not be appropriate.

On the plus side, the boys and girls from the Gold Dome are sure to allow guns in bars, airports, grade schools and everywere else as soon as they get back in session. And as soon as the Supremes strike down those unfair regulations about guns on airplanes, travel will be really exciting again.

Pass the ammunition, the guy in the seat ahead of me is talking on his cell phone after takeoff.

CJ you can't have it both ways

June 28th, 2010
12:32 pm

CJ you can’t highlight the words “well regulated militia” and “state” without someone coming right back and highlighting the words, “the right of the people”. Didn’t say “militia” CJ, didn’t say “state” CJ, it said the people.

NOWHERE does it say that the individual should NOT have a right to bear arms.

Better to have a last line of defense, than no line of defense. Unless of course you have complete faith and trust in the federal government to always act in the best interest of citizens.

Kyle Wingfield

June 28th, 2010
12:32 pm

Chimp: Get a new name, please.

New name

June 28th, 2010
12:33 pm

Ok, is this better, Kyle?

Kyle Wingfield

June 28th, 2010
12:34 pm

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
12:34 pm

CJ

If gun bans are so great, why does Chicago have the highest gun crime rate in the country?

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
12:36 pm

Port O’John

Explain how strict gun laws fail in cities like Chicago and DC.

Kyle Wingfield

June 28th, 2010
12:39 pm

CJ, your capacity for hyperbole never ceases to amaze, nor begins to persuade.

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
12:40 pm

“The number of gun deaths that occur in the U.S. relative to the rest of the industrialized world already demonstrate the dangers of our love affair with weaponry.”

Go to China where the Chinese military gun down innocent people at will. Go to Rwanda where militias have gunned down people because of race. Go to the Sudan where government militias kill their own people at will.

Go to the south side of Chicago where just two weeks ago they had 54 shootings. Chicago has THE strictest gun laws in the union.

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
12:43 pm

More Guns Means Less Crime

By John Stossel

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: “When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons.”

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: “I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available.”

Keith Olbermann, who usually can’t be topped for absurdity: “Organizations like the NRA … are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country.”

“Trying to?” Well, I admit that I bought that nonsense for years. Living in Manhattan, working at ABC, everyone agreed that guns are evil. And that the NRA is evil. (Now that the NRA has agreed to a sleazy deal with congressional Democrats on political speech censorship, maybe some of its leaders are evil, but that’s for another column.)

Now I know that I was totally wrong about guns. Now I know that more guns means — hold onto your seat — less crime.

How can that be, when guns kill almost 30,000 Americans a year? Because while we hear about the murders and accidents, we don’t often hear about the crimes stopped because would-be victims showed a gun and scared criminals away. Those thwarted crimes and lives saved usually aren’t reported to police (sometimes for fear the gun will be confiscated), and when they are reported, the media tend to ignore them. No bang, no news.

This state of affairs produces a distorted public impression of guns. If you only hear about the crimes and accidents, and never about lives saved, you might think gun ownership is folly.

But, hey, if guns save lives, it logically follows that gun laws cost lives.

Suzanna Hupp and her parents were having lunch at Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when a man began shooting diners with his handgun, even stopping to reload. Suzanna’s parents were two of the 23 people killed. (Twenty more were wounded.)

Suzanna owned a handgun, but because Texas law at the time did not permit her to carry it with her, she left it in her car. She’s confident that she could have stopped the shooting spree if she had her gun. (Texas has since changed its law.)

Today, 40 states issue permits to competent, law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns (Vermont and Alaska have the most libertarian approach: no permit needed. Arizona is about to join that exclusive club.) Every time a carry law was debated, anti-gun activists predicted outbreaks of gun violence after fender-benders, card games and domestic quarrels.

What happened?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/06/23/guns_save_lives_106057.html

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
12:45 pm

CJ

So do you think this 80 year old black man in Chicago should be jailed for shooting a repeat intruder on the south side of Chicago?

80-Year-Old Man Shoots And Kills Burglar In Home

A Chicago man says his 80-year-old father was protecting his family. His father shot and killed a man who was breaking into his home early Wednesday morning. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports the retired army veteran was determined not to become a victim.

Butch Gant says his father acted in self-defense when an armed intruder entered his family’s East Garfield Park home in the 600 block of North Sawyer Avenue around 5:20 a.m. Wednesday.

“He shot first and my father shot back,” said Butch Gant. “He was protecting himself. He didn’t have no other options. It was either him or daddy. And I’m glad it’s him, not daddy.”

Butch Gant says his father, mother and 12-year-old nephew were in the house when the intruder entered an enclosed back porch, then went to a second window.

“Right there, to the bedroom window and broke it,” said Gant. “That’s where my father saw him.”

His father shot the burglar, who was pronounced dead on the scene, police said.

http://cbs2chicago.com/local/burglar.shot.killed.2.1715871.html

@New name

June 28th, 2010
1:05 pm

New name, I was thinking Jackass the Poster would be a more appropriate screen name, but since Kyle is fine with new name, go with it.

t

June 28th, 2010
1:06 pm

maybe now chicago citizens can now defend themselves from all the thugs. pay attention people, there will be less shootings in chicago because of this. mark this date.

songbird

June 28th, 2010
1:07 pm

Why is it that so many guns sold legally in Georgia end up being used in crimes in other states? I’m not against guns. I have a handgun in my home, but too many guns are being sold to the wrong people.

Also, as long as we want to have easy access to guns we will have people who bought them legally but shot someone any way over some silly thing like what I saw on Dateline last night. A 72 year old man shot his next door neighbors over a silly dispute over a small piece of land and the fact that he didn’t like the fact that their yard wasn’t up to standards.

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
1:08 pm

“New name, I was thinking Jackass the Poster would be a more appropriate screen name, but since Kyle is fine with new name, go with it.”

Whatever you say, Opus.

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
1:09 pm

“A 72 year old man shot his next door neighbors over a silly dispute over a small piece of land and the fact that he didn’t like the fact that their yard wasn’t up to standards”

Well, 54 shootings happened last weekend in Chicago. So………I guess your ONE example is trumped by my 54 examples.

Oh well.

Democrat voters = low IQs

June 28th, 2010
1:10 pm

“Why is it that so many guns sold legally in Georgia end up being used in crimes in other states?”

Can you provide a link to that statement? As in, do you have some documented proof?

BADA BING

June 28th, 2010
1:13 pm

Why do liberals hate guns so much? It is a tool, it is not good or evil. When used properly it is like using a hammer or a wrench. It is for protection and obtaining food. The process is corrupted by evil human beings seeking to hurt others. Do away with the criminal, not the gun. You are alive today because your ancestors were a better shot than the people shooting at them. You are alive because your ancestors killed enough food and protected their property and family. They keep you alive today because of their use by the Police and military. You owe your life to guns !

Cars kill more people than guns

June 28th, 2010
1:14 pm

Hey leftys. Since you guys/gals are all about “protecting” us from ourselves, how’s about going and protesting Honda, Toyota, GM etc because cars kill more people than guns.

Idiots

BADA BING

June 28th, 2010
1:15 pm

Daddy, did you organize those communities that shot 52 people last week?

BADA BING

June 28th, 2010
1:17 pm

Ted Kennedy’s car killed more people than all the guns I have ever owned.

CJ

June 28th, 2010
1:18 pm

Kyle, your capacity for snark never ceases to amaze, nor begins to persuade.

There’s no hyperbole in my comment. The Court has wrongly decided that the Constitution gives us the right to keep and bear Arms. The Constitution has no restrictions whatsoever on the kind or quantity of Arms. Therefore, it would be unconstitutional to outlaw individuals developing and maintaining surface-to-air missiles, for example.

Yes, the Heller decision said that there are limits. But such limits are decided entirely and exclusively by the five (unelected) Supreme Court justices—an anti-conservative approach, it seems to me. And any and all such limitations would directly contradict their assertion that the Second Amendment applies to individuals.

CJ

June 28th, 2010
1:19 pm

Correction: “…it would be unconstitutional to outlaw individuals owning surface-to-air missiles, for example.”

Cars kill more people than guns

June 28th, 2010
1:20 pm

“The Court has wrongly decided that the Constitution gives us the right to keep and bear Arms.”

Yet you can’t explain how strict gun laws have failed cities like Chicago.

“to outlaw individuals developing and maintaining surface-to-air missiles, for example.”

How do you get “guns” and surface to air missiles” in the same sentence?

Hey CJ,

Just a guess here. I bet you also think the SC will rule in favor of slavery…..

Cars kill more people than guns

June 28th, 2010
1:21 pm

“Correction: “…it would be unconstitutional to outlaw individuals owning surface-to-air missiles, for example.””

Yeah CJ, cause there are so many gun stores that sell missiles, nukes and plastic explosives.

Intown

June 28th, 2010
1:25 pm

What does a non-gun owning parent now do to protect their children from guns? I don’t want to live in a society where any jerk can carry a freaking gun and where I purportedly now have to in order to keep things equal. What is wrong with people’s values in this country?!

Sweet Home Chicago

June 28th, 2010
1:25 pm

Sadly, I’m neither amazed nor shocked by this ruling or by some of the knuckleheaded responses. People are dying in my hometown while you’re worried about your right to bear guns and be suspicious of the government. As the saying goes, people are too busy getting shot in the ass to care about your right to shoot deer. Last weekend 40 people were shot in Chicago. 4-0. That’s right. Maybe if some of the violence travels into your suburbs some of you might think differently.

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/06/toddler-among-14-shot-overnight-throughout-city.html It’s going to get worse

Intown

June 28th, 2010
1:28 pm

These gun cases are a direct result of a premediated decades long plan by conservative legal groups and the conservative justices to completely re-write the standards for gun laws. And they got most of their ideas from the “liberal-activist” Warren court. Thomas and Scalia planted the seeds in dissenting opinions years before conservatives had the clear majority on the Court.

BADA BING

June 28th, 2010
1:28 pm

The gun haters are also the Taser haters, they don’t want lethal force or non lethal force. They think the Police can ask the criminals nicely to stop committing crimes. For you slow people, when you see the orange laser dot on your chest, 2 things can happen. You will follow the officer’s instructions or you will be tased.It is YOUR CHOICE what happens next. Even liberals can understand that.

Rob

June 28th, 2010
1:28 pm

CJ, nice way to cherry-pick the portions of the amendment YOU think should be read completely out of context, while accusing others of doing the same. In context, especially the complete context of the other writings on the topic by the Founders, and the definition of “well-regulated militia” with which they say they were working, your arguments are blatantly false.

In the US, gun control laws, especially those regulating whether people can carry loaded guns in public for self-protection, have been massively relaxed. In that time period violent crime, gun crime, and even gun accidents have consistently declined. Just last month the FBI released their report stating that this trend continued again over the last year, as it has in previous years. Chicago is one of the few US cities where that trend is reversed, with higher gun crime rates since their ban was enacted.

On the other hand, Great Britain and Australia virtually banned private gun ownership (they DID ban handguns and semi-automatic rifles), and both countries have seen massive increases in violent crime. Both have violent crime rates well above that of the US. In particular they’ve both experienced huge increases in gun crime. GB has seen a greater than 200% increase in gun crime, with the worst areas experiencing over a 500% increase. In Australia some areas have surpassed a 600% increase. Last year London saw a 40% increase in gun crime in just six months! This prompted the previously unarmed London bobbies to start carrying submachine guns.

So, explain again how strict gun laws prevent violent crime, or even gun crime, and how their lack causes such crime. Because no city, state, or country following your logic has yet to see the results you seem to believe they should.

Jason

June 28th, 2010
1:32 pm

Intown,

Don’t worry, the criminals will always have guns.

neo-Carlinist

June 28th, 2010
1:34 pm

I have been a gun owner for most of my adult life. began as a hunter and moved to handguns when I moved to GA and was employed in a (LEGAL) profession which had me carrying large amounts of cash. Despite the fact that I was not required to do so by GA law, I purchased trigger locks and secure all my unloaded weapons. see how this works? some citizens are capable of owning firerms and determining their own ideas about “safety” and “responsibility” sans the advice of Sarah Brady OR the NRA. it’s almost cliche’ but does anyone think criminals buy trigger locks? I’m not some “Dirty Harry” or Charles Bronson vigilante, but I’ll tell you what, a couple months ago I was dining in a south GA beanery with my family and I saw a dude with a Sig Sauer on his hip. He was polite, and friendly and said “please” and “thank you ma’am” to his server. this whole thing borders on ridiculous because guns are here to stay, and that’s on the criminal side, not the John Q. Public side.

Cars kill more people than guns

June 28th, 2010
1:35 pm

“What does a non-gun owning parent now do to protect their children from guns?”

Go move to Antarctica. That or move to Fantasyland with Al Gore.

“I don’t want to live in a society where any jerk can carry a freaking gun and where I purportedly now have to in order to keep things equal. What is wrong with people’s values in this country?!”

You live in the wrong country. The USA would not exist without guns. Nor would any other country on Earth.

Cars kill more people than guns

June 28th, 2010
1:37 pm

“These gun cases are a direct result of a premediated decades long plan by conservative legal groups and the conservative justices to completely re-write the standards for gun laws.”

They do? Explain George Washington and other founding fathers who used guns to build this country.

“Thomas and Scalia planted the seeds in dissenting opinions years before conservatives had the clear majority on the Court.”

Move to Iran.

commoncents

June 28th, 2010
1:37 pm

Intown: “These gun cases are a direct result of a premediated decades long plan by conservative legal groups and the conservative justices to completely re-write the standards for gun laws”

That sentence already has more words than the 2nd Amendment! This isn’t some scheme concocted by politicians and judges… They are just following an amendment that our country was founded upon which simply states “People can own and carry firearms”

Metro Coach

June 28th, 2010
1:38 pm

CJ, ever heard of a preamble? They’re all throughout the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The phrase “a well regulated militia being necessary….” is a preamble, explaining why individuals have the right to bear arms. You can’t ignore the part of the 2nd Amendent you don’t like either.

Cars kill more people than guns

June 28th, 2010
1:46 pm

People need to be more concerned about this.

Obama Can Shut Down Internet For 4 Months Under New Emergency Powers

President Obama will be handed the power to shut down the Internet for at least four months without Congressional oversight if the Senate votes for the infamous Internet ‘kill switch’ bill, which was approved by a key Senate committee yesterday and now moves to the floor

http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-can-shut-down-internet-for-4-months-under-new-emergency-powers.html

Cars kill more people than guns

June 28th, 2010
1:48 pm

And then there’s this…

CIA’s Panetta: Iran has enough uranium for 2 bombs

CIA Director Leon Panetta says Iran probably has enough low-enriched uranium for two nuclear weapons, but that it likely would take two years to build the bombs.

Panetta also says he is doubtful that recent U.N. penalties will put an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

He says the penalties could help to weaken Tehran’s government by creating serious economic problems. But he adds, “Will it deter them from their ambitions with regards to nuclear capability? Probably not.”

Panetta tells ABC’s “This Week” that there is “some debate” as to whether Iran will proceed with the bomb.

Asked about a potential Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Panetta said he thinks Israel is giving the U.S. room on the diplomatic and political fronts.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

yahoo news source

songbird

June 28th, 2010
1:59 pm

2,771 of the 34,617 crime scene guns recovered nationwide last year were first sold in Georgia. Behind Georgia were Florida (2,636), Virginia (2,333) and Texas (2,220).

Churchill's MOM

June 28th, 2010
2:00 pm

My Husband & I both have concealed carry permits. At age 8, I started hunting birds with my father. That said I do not understand why Georgia gives out CC permits without requiring a class in gun handling and what is legal & not. My Husband & I have taken several courses even though they are not required and yes that’s a Colt Cobra in my pocket book most of the time.

songbird

June 28th, 2010
2:03 pm

I forgot to say, those guns were bought in gun shops, not on the street.