High Court Expands Second Amendment

     (CN) – The Second Amendment extends to the city and state level, a split Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 5-4 decision overturning Chicago’s ban on handguns. The decision voids the 1982 ordinance that barred Chicagoans from having handguns in their homes.

     In 2008, the high court held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, striking down a Washington, D.C., law banning handgun possession.
     The underlying case involves Chicago and one of its suburbs, Oak Park, which banned handgun possession.
     Four Chicago residents sued the city, claiming the ban “left them vulnerable to criminals.”
     The low court rejected the arguments, and noted that the 7th Circuit had previously upheld the constitutionality of the ban and that the Supreme Court’s previous decision explicity refrained from deciding whether the Second Amendment applied to the states.
     The 7th Circuit affirmed.
     “We have previously held that most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights apply with full force to both the federal government and the states,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. “Applying the standard that is well established in our case law, we hold that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the states.”
     Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas agreed.
     Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the dissent.
     “Procedural guarantees are hollow unless linked to substantive interests; and no amount of process can legitimize some deprivations,” he wrote. “I have yet to see a persuasive argument that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment thought otherwise. To the contrary, the historical evidence suggests that, at least by the time of the Civil War if not much earlier, the phrase ‘due process of law’ had acquired substantive content as a term of art within the legal community.”

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