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Supreme Court rules on the Chicago handgun ban

June 28, 2010

  After the Supreme Court ruled in the Heller case that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right, second amendment advocates quickly moved to challenge the Chicago handgun ban in an effort to extend those rights to the various states– the Heller case did not apply to states because Washington DC is a federal enclave.

  Today the Supreme Court handed down their long awaited verdict on the Chicago handgun ban, and I must admit that it was not the complete victory that I had hoped for because the Supreme Court did not overturn the Chicago handgun ban outright, but rather sent the case back to the lower courts for a ruling. While it seems likely that the lower court will now have to rule in favor of overturning the ban– and while that will be a major victory– the fact is that we missed an opportunity for the Supreme Court to set a precedent in this case. We missed the opportunity for stare decisis– a term that was of great import to the left during the confirmation hearings of both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito on the issue of abortion and Roe vs Wade.

  The left expended quite a bit of capital on stare decisis during the aforementioned hearings and if the Supreme Court had overturned the Chicago handgun ban themselves– rather than sending it back to the lower court– certainly these same liberals would not be interested in overturning settled law, right? If stare decisis was so important during the confirmation of both Roberts and Alito on the issue of abortion, the same priority on stare decisis with regards to gun ownership should be applied by the left on this issue. To do otherwise would be hypocritical.

  But while the case failed to provide stare decisis on this issue, it was still a major victory for second amendment advocates as the Supreme Court reaffirmed the fact that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.

It is clear that the Framers . . . counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the conservatives on the court.

The court’s decision means that the enigmatically worded 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” — identifies an individual right to gun ownership, like the freedom of speech, that cannot be unduly restricted by Congress, state laws or city ordinances (emphasis mine)

  Wayne LaPierre– Vice President of the NRA had the following to say about this decision:

Today marks a great moment in American history, this is a landmark decision. It is a vindication for the great majority of American citizens who have always believed the Second Amendment was an individual right and freedom worth defending.

  Justice Alito cited the 14th amendment in his statement for the majority, saying:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

   We finally have a court ruling on the second amendment that affirms that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” actually does mean that the people have the right to keep and bear arms. This is contrary to the argument which has been used by the left for years that the second amendment only applies to the military.

  The Supreme Court also reaffirmed its decision in the Heller case that states have the right to common sense restrictions on gun ownership, although they declined to go into detail about what they considered common sense restrictions to be. That will most likely be left up to the Supreme Court on a one by one basis as more and more gun laws are challenged in the future based on this ruling.

  This is just the beginning, now that the Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms, we can expect more challenges to be made in different locales about current gun laws. Some of these restrictions may be overturned, and some may not. But now we  have momentum on our side; it took far too long for the Supreme Court to hear a case on an individual’s right to keep and bear arms– all other rights guaranteed under the constitution had been affirmed as individual rights long ago, but the Supreme Court has finally made the ruling that the second amendment is just as much of an individual right as all of the others.

  As more cases move forward in the future, we would do well to remember that this decision was only by a 5-4 margin. We were thisclose to having this ruling go in the opposite direction. While Elena Kagan’s almost assured appointment to the Supreme Court would not have changed this decision, it was still too close for comfort. If Barack Obama is allowed one more Supreme Court nominee, we might not be so lucky the next time– especially with there being no official stare decisis on this issue. 

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    June 28, 2010 9:38 pm

    This is great news…

    …but as expected, Mayor Daley and his cronies are already talking about more restrictive measures. Not only will people have to register their guns, but they’ll likely have to “pre-register” them as well!… WTH?!?!?! Its none of the government’s (federal, state, or local) business if I have a firearm, assuming I’m not a felon. Thank God we don’t have to do any of that registering nonsense here in Texas.


    • June 29, 2010 11:19 pm

      Here in New Hampshire we have gun laws that are very “gun owner friendly” also, probably not as much as Texas. No registering here either!


  2. LD Jackson permalink
    June 28, 2010 9:54 pm

    Good article, Steve and you mention stare decisis, of which I was not aware. To be honest, I am a bit surprised that the court failed to overturn the Chicago handgun ban outright. I really thought they would. It bothers me more than a little that we are one justice away from the court swinging to the liberal side. If that happens, we can almost be assured to face more and more restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms.


    • June 29, 2010 11:22 pm

      Thanks Larry, to be honest I had never heard of stare decisis until the Robert hearing. THe left was so afraid that he would try to overturn Roe vs Wade that they peppered him on stare decisis.
      I was surprised also that they didn’t overturn the ban, but they did clear the way for more challenges in the future.


  3. June 28, 2010 11:11 pm

    Steve – just curious but Alito’s comments including the 14th Amendment,

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”,

    wouldn’t that apply to the Health care overhaul. States are going to be forced (unless they resist) to make us have insurance.

    I know the left is using the commerce clause (improperly in my opinion) but I wonder if this amendment would also cover the H/C as well.

    Just wondering…

    Good job on this post by the way.


    • June 29, 2010 11:23 pm

      Now that is a very good point, and one that I hadn’t thought of! Maybe we can use the 14th amendment to challenge healthcare reform.
      Thanks for the compliment!


  4. Maria permalink
    June 29, 2010 2:37 am

    Slightly older news that will no make it legal for Chicago’s dept of education:
    March 11, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — A week from Monday, a shipment of combat-ready shotguns is due to arrive in Chicago, destined for what would seem to be an unlikely recipient: the United States Department of Education.

    ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie has learned the details of an unusual gun order.

    On Monday, the US Department of Education began soliciting bids, not for books or laptops, but for guns, Remington shotguns decked out with all the combat trimmings, such as short barrels for concealment and modified sights.

    Why would the department of education need guns? That is what the I-Team wanted to know.

    The guns are to arrive in Chicago west of the Loop on Monday, March 22, in the 14th floor offices of the US Department of Education inspector general.

    According to the bid solicitation, the department is purchasing 27 Remington Model 870 pump-action shotguns with 14-inch modified choke barrels. They are custom-made for law enforcement and have shorter barrels than required for purchase by private citizens.

    The Remington shotgun being purchased by the education department is intended to replace an older, malfunctioning arsenal, according to officials, and would have to be compatible with existing combat armor.

    The I-Team called US Education Secretary Arne Duncan Thursday afternoon to find out why his inspector general’s office requires guns at all. Duncan, who previously ran the Chicago Public Schools, referred questions to the inspector general’s office.

    In an e-mail, a spokesperson told the I-Team that their special agents work waste and fraud cases involving education funds and programs, and they have full law enforcement authority and training, and they sometimes conduct search warrants and make arrests.

    The shotguns are expected to arrive at the loading dock in 10 days and are being shipped to Chicago because this is where the education department’s firearm’s inventory manager is located.

    And so, as the anticipated $35,000 gun purchase is in the federal pipeline, the I-team asked federal officials when the last time was that an education department inspector general employee actually fired a weapon in the line of duty. A spokesperson said, “in our history, we have been fortunate that our agents have *not* had to discharge their firearms in the line of duty.”

    She added, “please know that in the course of our work, we have arrested individuals with violent criminal histories, including violence against law enforcement officers.”


  5. Go_Idaho permalink
    July 2, 2010 11:39 am

    $35,000 for 27 shotguns?

    Those are some pretty dang expensive shotguns, considering I can get a similar civilian Model 870 for $600.

    Also, I’m sure other’s have read this, or mentioned it, but why wasn’t the vote 9-0. Why are there 4 justices that came out AGIANST the Constitution?

    Ugh. I just about can’t eat my breakfast with the paper anymore…..



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