Supreme Court Extends Handgun Rights

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

Handguns. Photo: Joshuashearn (CC)

What do you think – was the Supreme Court right to uphold U.S. citizens’ right to carry handguns, even in major cities? I can appreciate both sides of the argument, but as a New York City resident I’d prefer not to see handguns in an urban environment. David G. Savage reports for the Los Angeles Times:

The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago’s ban on handguns Monday and extended the reach of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe on the “right to keep and bear arms.”

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

The ruling has both local and national implications.

Two years ago, the high court ruled in a case from Washington, D.C., 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.

In Monday’s decision, the court said the constitutional protection of the 2nd Amendment extends to city and state laws, not just federal measures.

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…

[continues in the Los Angeles Times]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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27 Comments on "Supreme Court Extends Handgun Rights"

  1. Cerebralcaustic | Jun 28, 2010 at 10:48 am |

    >as a New York City resident I’d prefer not to see handguns in an urban environment.

    swell, but the Constitution doesn't say that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except in instances where someone who lives in New York City would prefer otherwise.

    It was P.J. O'Rourke, if I remember correctly, who said his moment of disenchantment with the American left came when he realized they had zero respect for the laws created by America's founders: the left were fighting *against* the right to keep guns (which is specifically described in the Constitution) at the same time they were fighting in favor of abortion (which is *not* specifically described in the Constitution) .

    • It's a classic case of whether or not one chooses to follow a political ideology at one's own personal expense, for the greater good. Very few residents of New York or Chicago want handguns on their streets, but I'm sure many of them support the 2nd Amendment philosophically. Unfortunately the two may be inconsistent. That's what makes these decisions so tough and I'm interested to hear what disinformation readers think.

      • LAMBS2the | Jun 28, 2010 at 4:56 pm |

        No actually its not a classic case of whether or not one chooses to follow a political ideology at one's own personal expense. That political ideology is actually the blueprint of this constitutional republic remove any one right and all the other rights are endangered. Remember it was Jefferson who said when you sacrifice your liberties for safety you deserve neither… classic example the patriot act.

        • E.B. Wolf | Jun 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm |

          That quote was Ben Franklin's.

        • And if you forget to put punctuation in one place, all the other sentences are endangered, and so is your line of first-grade logic. I think it was Barney Miller who said that.

    • I tend to agree. I think it's a *bad idea* for people to carry guns, and I'd really rather they didn't, but at the same time democracy is an exercise in personal responsibility.

      As a NY resident, what I'd like to know is, does this mean that we'll finally be allowed to carry a freaking can of mace?!?Or a stun gun? Or a knife? I'm pretty sure the founding fathers envisioned knives.

  2. emperorreagan | Jun 28, 2010 at 11:46 am |

    I don't think it made much sense to have strict gun laws in a handful of places, anyway.

    Did a strict ban in DC make much sense when you can drive ten minutes to Virginia and get one for free for visiting the state? I don't really think so.

    As long as you have hodge-podge of laws across the nation, strict local laws are going to do nothing to keep handguns out of the hands of violent criminals. I think those particular gun laws really only exist to give cops a convenient bullshit charge to use against people, not because they do anything to reduce violent crime.

  3. US has the most guns per capita, and the most death by guns per capita… So as far as I'm concerned, less guns is good.

    Still, not really a good idea to have a mix of laws of all kinds all over.

    • I'd love to see your reference material for that. Throughout Africa you can get an AK-47 for a chicken. Stabbings are far more frequent than gun assaults and the FBI fact page show states with concealed carry weapon licenses available have far less gun deaths. Why? Because criminals know if anyone around them can be carrying a gun, the opportunity to get away with assault of any kind is much smaller.

  4. For the sake of brevity, I'll just stick with mentioning that while I'm broadly socially liberal…I get hawkish on gun issues because guns…like cars or alcohol…are something any responsible adult should be allowed to make use of…with the loss of that right being the punishment for abusing it.

    I believe that all non-automatic weapons…rifles, pistols and shotguns, should be uniformly legal with basic registration…but automatic weapons, designed solely to take lots of human lives quickly and easily, should be outright banned.

    It isn't the citizenry that needs to be monitored closely…its the manufacturers who keep the sales records murky so they can flood the markets, here and overseas, with lots of weapons for criminals and even terrorists. With their lobby arm the NRA they keep the waters muddy so that they can't be caught selling to both sides. This is, after all, the organization that defended Teflon coated cop-killer bullets for public sale…which turned law enforcement against them overnight. We aren't dealing with heroes fighting to preserve our freedoms…we're dealing with arms merchants who profit from gun sales and confiscations that make further sales to crooks doubly lucrative. Hang them…not sportsmen and homeowners.

    I neither make, nor accept, any excuses from either side. Both the “mommy-state” snivelers who want us all to be safe and the gun sales lobbyists who want plenty of guns in criminal hands to keep us scared and buying for self defense should burn in hell where they belong.

    • I totally agree with you VoxMagi. You raise some good points about the extreme positions held on both sides. I'd only like to add that as a law abiding citizen who had to register my gun I should have the right to protect my family and myself from people who would harm us. Also, considering I registered the weapon as required by law, I'm obviously not going to knock over a 7/11 with it.

      • Amen. No one I have ever known has committed a gun crime. We've all been registered and never suffered for it. My friends own sport rifles, hunting shotguns and pistols for use on the range…and a number of them are retired military personnel. Every one of them has behaved responsibly with the weapons they own. The only people who need unregistered Tech-9's and AK-47 knock-offs are thugs planning to commit murder and fetishists compensating for what nature didn't provide them with. The rest of us, the people who go their whole lives never abusing the right to bear arms, we're just stuck in the middle of the tug of war between two radical sides that are so equally retarded it makes our teeth ache.

        • I don't think the “fetishists” can be said to be abusing their rights simply by collecting assault rifles, and I wouldn't be so dismissive of their freedom to do so. Before you take that away, you have to make a compelling case that an assault weapon ban would have enough of an impact upon violent crime to justify restricting every American citizen's liberty in this way. We can argue that point back and forth, but it's not enough to say that people don't “need” assault rifles, or that the people who own them are loony, and therefore we should take them away.

          • What is it that you need to do with an assault rifle which you can't do with a regular rifle or handgun? Shoot through the side of a deer's car? Assault rifles are made TO KILL PEOPLE and they're the weapon of choice for street gangs; why do you need one so badly? If it's illegal, then it IS an abuse of rights to have one. Fetishist is an appropriate word, whether you like it or not– you want the excess power for no reason other than to placate your ego. That is fetishism defined, and you personally are making a fine case for your opponents in this argument. How about you try making a case for the importance of having them in your personal arsenal instead of acting like it just should be your right and we shouldn't question you having obsessive amounts of gun power. People who want assault rifles tend to be idiots and maniacs, and that's why they're illegal.

          • I don't own a gun. I'm not into them at all.

            That having been said, the people I've known who have owned assault rifles have all been intelligent, non-violent, well-balanced people, and I'm not convinced that trying to take their guns away will make society much safer. Usually when the government tries to ban things that people are determined to have anyway, they only succeed in creating a lucrative, unregulated black market that turns around and bites them in the ass.

            Your argument from cultural prejudice reminds me of the thinking behind the punitive anti-marijuana legislation of the hippie area. If you own it, you're probably just one of those “idiots and manicas” destroying the fabric of American society, so why not make it a crime?

          • Fair enough…but I'm not convinced that they should be easily obtainable the way pistols and rifle and shotguns are though. There really should be greater scrutiny on weapons with the power to mow down crowds quickly and easily. This scrutiny isn't unreasonable to expect, or necessarily an outright ban…but it would be better than large caches of high powered assault weapons being easily black marketed into the hands of criminals and terrorists.

          • Then we probably agree. I'm all for regulating gun ownership in sensible ways.

  5. Roach8482 | Jun 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm |

    A lot of people are ignorant of the very essential purpose of the 2nd amendment. It is NOT an amendment for crazed gun lovers to own all the guns they want. It is for the sake of keeping the gov in check in case they go rouge. The very reason why Japan did not attack CALI during WW2 was because the Japanese general knew Americans were armed. Guns are merely tools if one knows how to use them wisely.

  6. Forget the guns. Regulate the bullets.

    • LOL…I think it was Chris Rock that said bullets should cost a thousand dollars each…then people would have to decide carefully if they hated somebody enough to drop a grand just to unload on them. 🙂

  7. We live in a savage, warlike country. America can't seem to not get into a major armed conflict every 10 years or so. I own guns because my girlfriend was being stalked by a dude who had guns, cancer, military training, and no reason to live; and our legal system is kind of fine with that. I own two guns (one for each of us) because my neighbor started dealing meth to what I later found out was a convicted child molester amongst other nefarious personell (I have since moved).
    My third gun is a concealable handgun since I work security gigs protecting those who don't have guns from those who do and can't behave. Must suck to be a bouncer in New York.

  8. Size matters.
    A rifle will do just fine for hunting, as well as paranoid home invasion scenarios.
    So why are handguns even allowed to be manufactured?

  9. Namelesswon | Jun 30, 2010 at 5:41 am |

    i read this wrong and though this was about had gun extensions for right handed people. i mean that doesnt even make sense!!!

  10. Bucky Haight | Jul 4, 2010 at 8:11 am |

  11. Bucky Haight | Jul 4, 2010 at 3:11 am |

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