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October 1st, 2009
07:41 AM ET

Justices to rule on Chicago's handgun ban

By Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Setting the stage for a dramatic battle over gun rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted an appeal challenging the ability of state and local governments to enforce strict limits on handguns and other weapons.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The question before the courts will be whether Second Amendment protections apply to local gun ordinances."]

The high court returned from its summer recess, meeting in private to consider thousands of pending appeals that have piled up the past three months.

The Second Amendment case from Chicago was the most anticipated of the petitions, and oral arguments will be held sometime early next year. Nine other cases were also accepted for review.

At issue is whether the constitutional "right of the people to keep and bear arms" applies to local gun control ordinances, or only to federal restrictions. The basic question has remained unanswered for decades, and gives the conservative majority on the high court another chance to allow individuals expanded weapon ownership rights.

The appeal was filed by a community activist in Chicago who sought a handgun for protection from gangs.

The justices last year affirmed an individual right to possess handguns, tossing out restrictive laws in Washington.

Read the full story »

Sound off: Should states and cities be allowed to pass gun control laws or is that stepping on a constitutional right?

Filed under: Gun rights
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. John S Guillet Jr

    The city or the state does not have a right to take away rights provided by the constitution. If they ban your right to own guns, then the can ban your freedome of speech, Right to assembly, right to vote, and so on. It should be up to the indavidual wheather or not he or she wants to own any type of gun. The criminals will have theirs.

    The purpose of the second ammendment is not only to defend ourselves from criminals, but also to keep the government honest. (We had just finished with a revolution) That right was put there to defend the Constitution and the new nation. You have to ask yourself : "Why do they want to violate our right to bear arms.?" Lets combat crime, not violate the rights of our free and honest citizens.

    March 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  2. Joel Chaney

    Nancy Telfair please put a sign in your front yard stating "I do not own any guns" and see how fast the goverment will protect you!
    Also remember on June 27, 2005 – The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. (NYTIMES)

    October 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  3. Mitchell

    I retired from law enforcement after 28 years. Believe me I have seen it all and then some. I feel so strongly about gun laws and the 2nd Ammendment that I am now a proud Life Member of the NRA.

    October 1, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  4. ronvan

    PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS: The 2nd Amendment is pretty clear. The problem is that for those that want to carry firearms want to argue the meaning of the words and interpret them for thier personal gain. Then there is the problem of arguement of what our "founding fathers" meant when they wrote the 2nd Amendment. I, personally, find it completely stupid that people can state that "this is what they meant".
    Where you there, got timetravel, some letters that no one has ever seen? What about the problem of what firearms to carry? Revolver vs Pistol? Rifles vs Semi Auto? What about caliber or size of ammo or type of ammo? Some "HUNTERS" argue that the AR15/AK 47 are good hunting rifles! Again I find this silly. Is it sporting to hunt your game and if you miss with the first shot then you have 20 – 40 – 60 rounds to follow up? I also find it very scary that people THINK that if they are carrying and, god forbid, a situation comes up for them to use their "weapon of choice" that they THINK they could kill another human being, and "shoot straight" under a life & death split second.

    October 1, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  5. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Your morning guest makes a point that theres always been violence in Chicago why should a violent city be pleasurized for its violence .how about this idea place the olympics in the city with the best crime rate where the citizens dont act like a pack of wild animals.

    October 1, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  6. Jim Thompson

    Both this story and the live story this morning simply assumes the NRA position that the 2nd Amendment has to do with individual gun ownership. The story this morning referred to the "seemingly clear language" of the Amendment. Well, the Supreme Court for over 200 years held that this clarity was in the direction of State Militias, not individual gun ownership. CNN does everyone a disservice when it just accepts the recent decision of a reactionary court as "clear" fact. When even CNN becomes a shill for the NRA, we're all in trouble.

    October 1, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  7. Bernadette Loesch

    We need much more regulation of guns and bullets in this country. To other countries we are viewed as very backward and dangerous because of the preceived need for guns. Let's stop the insanity once and for all. Hiding behind laws to protect gun ownership is not a valid argument. Too many people have died to justify the use of guns. The NRA is dangerous to my health and wellbeing.

    October 1, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  8. nancy

    "@ Bob October 1st, 2009 7:49 am ET

    Besides being an immoral limit on law-abiding citizens’ right to self-defense, this could establish a precedent that could lead to eroding other fundamental rights. If we allow localities to limit gun owner’s rights, which right in the Bill of Rights will be next? Warrantless search and seizure? Jury trials? Freedom of speech, religion, peaceful assembly, or petition?"

    WOW, I agree. If we let states tamper with our Constitutional rights, WE as the people have lost.

    October 1, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  9. Don M

    Kirk C clearly slept through civics classes!

    The constituion doesn't bind us, it serves to limit the power of the federal government! Does anyone even know what federalisim is anymore?!?!?!?!

    October 1, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  10. Robert

    i feel a psycological test should be given to all gun applicants. There's alot of people out there with guns that and extremely instable. Please people...guns are the killers of this generation.

    October 1, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  11. Conrad Yust

    This nation was built on God, guns, and guts. Have we now decided we can get along without these powerful assets? Are we a nation of people so scared of guns we are willing to give them up and suffer the consequences.
    It's an old saying but a very truthful one; "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."
    Take a look around at the other countries that have banned guns, their break-ins, robberies, and muggings have gone through the roof!!!

    October 1, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  12. Federal Farmer

    The problem with gun control laws is that they are only respected by law-abiding citizens and do absolutely nothing to prevent crime....because criminals don't care about laws...that's why they're criminals.

    Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States and yet more Americans have been murdered in Chicago since the start of the Iraq war than have been killed in service in Iraq, many of them with guns that are illegal to own in the city. How is that possible? Because gun laws don't work. Gun laws increase crime by disarming law-abiding citizens and leaving guns in the hands of criminals. Remember: when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!

    Don't bother talking about "reasonable gun laws" either. Look at New York City where you have to have a permit to own a firearm. That sounds reasonable, right? Permits are not issued to anyone that isn't politically connected or a celebrity. That's the creation of an elite class of people who have more rights than the rest of the country. Not very American.

    What gun grabbers forget...or don't want you to that the real purpose of the Second Amendment is to counterbalance the propensity of governments to become tyrannical. It's the last check in the check and balance system created by the Founding Fathers.

    Wthout the Second Amendment there is no freedom or liberty.

    October 1, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  13. Nancy Telfair

    Absolutely. States should be able to protect their citizens from insane laws inacted by that deadly domestic terrorist organization known as the NRA. The Supreme Court's last ruling concerning gun control was totally wrong. The 2nd ammendment is not about individual gun rights. It establishes the right to a well armed militia, which we have in the National Guard. The 2nd ammendment should be either interpreted correctly or abolished completely.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  14. Mike

    if they find in any other way but to give you the right to keep and bear arms this is atravisty of justice and our constitution is dead

    October 1, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  15. Anna Olson

    I think that there should be gun control. Because back in the days when the constitution was written they did not have guns like th m16 or the ak 47. But if people read the constitution it was also written to be able to be changed with the times.

    On the texting with Truck Drivers-–Those quamcom. is a good thing for the truck drivers and the trucking companies. They are used for information of directions, and loads. But also the companies use this system too so that they can track where there trucks are too.
    Most of the responisble drivers will pull over or be parked when they are using this quamcom. It is a good system to keep.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  16. Kirk C

    The Constitution is the glue that binds us into the UNITED States. By challenging this, we come to no longer having a common bond with other states.

    The individual states do have the right to decide what goes on within their own borders, but it is plain and simple that "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." When I joined the Navy, our pledge was to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." So what are we to defend in the armed forced if we say "this applies, but not that?" Where is the bond that hold all Americans together?

    October 1, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  17. Richard

    Sorry typed fast didn't spell check

    October 1, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  18. Ron Murray

    If States Rights trumps Federal Law concerning the right to bare arms, does that also apply to freedom of speech or any of the other amendments?
    Maybe women only have the legal right to vote in federal elections.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  19. Bob

    Besides being an immoral limit on law-abiding citizens' right to self-defense, this could establish a precedent that could lead to eroding other fundamental rights. If we allow localities to limit gun owner's rights, which right in the Bill of Rights will be next? Warrantless search and seizure? Jury trials? Freedom of speech, religion, peaceful assembly, or petition?

    October 1, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  20. Joe Gottlieb

    No, there should be universal federal gun laws. too many states such a s New York have repressive laws that don't allow law abiding citizens to own guns. The percentage of crimes committed by legitimate gun owners is minute. Enforce the laws on the books and most problems will go away.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  21. Richard

    There are far too many guns on the street now... if some one wants to own one gun fine... as far as arming to protect yourself against this government lets get real, a militia will never be able to stand up against our military if things go bad here... I trained LE/SWAT on a FAST unit and when trained offices had a 28% hit rate and a majority shot their partner in situations, I have no trust of untrained individuals with weapons, especially assult rifles... shooting at targets/hunting is no the same as an actual fire arm situation and does not constitute arms training.... and all those wack jobs who think if everyone had a gun there would be no crime, we'd just have old west shootouts with many, many casualtys....

    October 1, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  22. david stressman

    no,,, the constitution states it is a right , states and citys do not seem to say anything about religion or freedom of speech, why do they regulate this right
    most gun owners have no problem with backround checks , i have no problem with mandating safety training for gun ownership .

    October 1, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  23. Ken Carre

    As a society, we should talk about health care rights berfore gun rights.

    October 1, 2009 at 7:45 am |