June 28, 2010
The U.S. Supreme Court extended the reach of the constitutional right to bear arms by saying it binds state and local governments as well as the federal government.
The justices, voting 5-4 in a case involving Chicago’s handgun ban, said that individual gun rights were among the fundamental guarantees protected against state interference through a constitutional amendment after the Civil War.
The ruling broadens the sweep of the court’s 2008 ruling interpreting the Constitution’s Second Amendment as protecting the rights of individuals, rather than just those of state-run militias. It’s a victory for the National Rifle Association, which joined a group of Chicago residents in challenging the city’s laws.
It will open a new front in the fight over gun rights, setting the stage for courtroom battles over the constitutionality of weapons restrictions around the country.
The case is McDonald v. City of Chicago, 08-1521.