In its second major ruling on gun rights in three years, today the Supreme Court extended the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. The decision comes over the opposition of gun control groups, the city of Chicago and the four liberal justices.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the five justice majority saying "the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner."
The ruling builds upon the Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller that invalidated the handgun ban in the nation's capital. More importantly, that decision held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was a right the Founders specifically delegated to individuals. The justices affirmed that decision and extended its reach to the 50 states. Today's ruling also invalidates Chicago's handgun ban.
Read the Court's opinion here www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1
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This is probably the most important Second Amendment case in Supreme Court history. The opinion holds that the right to keep and bear arms is among the most fundamental rights necessary to this Nation’s system of ordered liberty and is deeply rooted in our history and tradition. Thus, it applies to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The difficult cases are those that are sure to follow the McDonald decision. 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.