Thursday, October 01, 2009

Supreme Court takes up landmark gun case
Lawsuit challenges constitutionality of state, local firearm bans

Posted: September 30, 2009
3:45 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

The Supreme Court has agreed today to hear a landmark Second Amendment case challenging Chicago's ban on handguns and onerous registration procedures on other firearms.

The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago claiming the city enforces a handgun ban identical to the one struck down by the Supreme Court in the case District of Columbia v. Heller and that the ban violates residents' Second Amendment rights.

In Heller, the court rejected a lower court position that claimed the Second Amendment applied only to state "militia," such as the National Guard. However, the 5-4 ruling referenced the federal jurisdiction of Washington, D.C., and not states and localities.

This case, McDonald v. Chicago, challenges a 7th Circuit court ruling that said the Second Amendment applies only to federal regulation of an individual's right to guns and not in cases of restrictions by states and municipalities like Chicago and Oak Park, Ill.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: "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."

Furthermore, Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, or the Privileges or Immunities Clause, states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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.

The plaintiffs argue that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" in the Second Amendment is "incorporated" into the 14th Amendment and applies to both states and localities.

According to USA Today, 34 states asked the Supreme Court to take up the case and a separate one filed by the National Rifle Association against Chicago.

The report states that 33 of the 34 states said in a joint filing, "Without this court's review (of the Chicago cases), millions of Americans may be deprived of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms." California asked the court to hear the Chicago cases in a separate filing.

Chicago officials told the Supreme Court the city's 1982 handgun ban was put in place to address an increase in gun-related deaths and because guns are believed to play "a major role in the commission of homicide, aggravated assaults and armed robbery."

Following the Heller decision, Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley called the Supreme Court ruling "a very frightening decision," according to Chicago's WLS-TV.

"It's amazing how the Supreme Court and Congress, you can't carry a gun into the Supreme Court," he said during a June 2008 event at Navy Pier. "You can't carry a gun in and around the capitol building. You can't get into the capitol building without being searched. And so why should our streets of our American cities be open to someone carrying a gun?"

The Supreme Court is expected to hear McDonald v. Chicago in January. Some say a ruling by next summer may result in numerous lawsuits challenging gun measures in cities and states across the nation.

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