Published On: Mon, Jun 28th, 2010

Supreme Court rules against Chicago gun ban, affirms the second amendment

The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago’s ban today, confirming the rights of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe the “right to keep and bear arms.”

The 5-4 decision appears to void the 1982 ordinance, one of the nation’s strictest that barred city residents from having handguns for their own use, even at home.

Back in 2008, the court ruled in a Washington DC case that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals to have a gun for self-defense. Since the District is a federal city and not a state, the court did not decide then whether the 2nd Amendment could be used to challenge other municipal ordinances or state laws.

This decision states that the constitutional protection of the 2nd Amendment extends to city and state laws, not just federal measures.

photo Pearson Scott Foresman

photo Pearson Scott Foresman

By sending the case back to a lower court, Chicago’s handgun ban remains in effect for now. Mayor Richard Daley has scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. today to discuss the ruling.

Otis McDonald, one of the people who sued Chicago over the gun ban, left the Supreme Court today saying,”I am so happy. I am so happy,” then faced a barrage of reporters to talk about the victory.

McDonald, 76, opened his remarks by thanking Jesus Christ, then his attorneys, then his fellow plaintiffs and finally “all the wonderful people all across America who have been supportive of the 2nd Amendment and our right to defend ourselves.”

The man hten thanked the justices “for having the courage to right a wrong, which has impacted many lives long ago and that will protect lives for many years to come.”

When asked by a reporter what type of handgun he would buy, he did not miss a beat. “I don’t have no preference right now. I can use all of them,” he said.

Another person who sued the city, Colleen Lawson, said she was confident the ban would be struck down. “It’s like in the Wild West… there’s a higher court,” she said. “The higher court is the constitution of the United States.”

An attorney involved in the case advised against running out and purchasing handguns until a lower court rules on the matter later this summer.

“Obviously I’m elated by the court’s decision, said attorney David Sigale. “(But) I think it would be prudent to wait.”

In the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, the court noted a recent call by two state legislators to deploy National Guard troops to quell the violence on Chicago’s streets.

“The legislators noted that the number of Chicago homicide victims during the current year equaled the number of American soldiers killed during that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the opinion stated.

“If (the) safety of . . . law abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense, then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of high-crime areas whose needs are not being met by elected public officials.”

Gun-rights advocates have been closely following the Chicago case. They said a victory for the 2nd Amendment would clear the way for constitutional challenges to restrictions on firearms to be heard in federal courts nationwide.

“We are elated at the Supreme Court decision, it is what we had hoped for,” said David Sigale, attorney for the Illinois State Rifle Association.

A ruling against Chicago’s ban had been widely anticipated. The City Council could consider new gun control measures as soon as Wednesday, Mayor Richard Daley said last week.


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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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