Supreme Court rules local governments can't ban guns

In a 5-4 decision in a Chicago case, the justices disallow outright prohibition, not all local gun control

Published June 28, 2010 3:29PM (EDT)

      (<a href=''>Flickr/Auraelius</a>)

The Supreme Court has decided that its broad, modern interpretation of the Second Amendment applies equally to the states as it does to the federal government. Chicago's handgun restrictions, and Oak Park's handgun ban, will soon be invalidated.

Justice Alito delivered the majority decision. Four justices dissented. (You can guess which ones.) As usual, Scalia filed a concurring opinion that was a lot more dickish than the majority opinion, and Thomas filed an opinion that concurred in part but also signaled that he had an even more right-wing/activist opinion about this than the majority.

The decision was inevitable. Once the court decided, in Heller, that the Second Amendment provides for the personal right to own a gun for self-protection, the only question was whether the court would strike down all local gun control rules or just outright bans. For now, it's just outright and de facto bans.

The legal battles between local governments and national pro-gun activists are going to last for years to come, especially because the Roberts court still refuses to outline what type of gun-control regulations they'd find constitutional. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is already proposing a host of new limitations on gun ownership that will all surely be challenged in court. But for now, everyone in America gets a handgun.

By Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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