Landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision: Second Amendment applies to states and cities

Buckeye Firearms Association is thrilled that the United States Supreme Court has ruled to strike down the ban on private ownership of firearms in Chicago. Today, in a 5 to 4 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment applies to states and cities. The decision is a result of a case brought by Otis McDonald (and others) against the city of Chicago. Leaving no room for doubt, the court made clear that the Second Amendment applies to Mayor Daley and Chicago.

"While there is much work to be done, this decision is the first critical step towards universal self-defense rights," said Jim Irvine, President of Buckeye Firearms Foundation. Buckeye Firearms Foundation teamed up with the United States Concealed Carry Association to file an amicus brief in support of Mr. McDonald.

Irvine summarized the importance as follows: "The members of the United States Concealed Carry Association and the supporters of Buckeye Firearms Foundation travel regularly, and a robust Second Amendment applied against all cities and states is needed to insure that the right to self-defense travels with these people, the same as all their other rights. Finally, the Second Amendment is afforded equal dignity with the other constitutional rights we enjoy."

The Court's decision is being welcomed as a day of liberation for the law-abiding citizens of Chicago. After years of being held hostage to the murder and mayhem that has plagued the city without a means of self-defense, Chicagoans can finally exercise their right to bear arms and defend their home against the common thugs that used to act with impunity.

Chicago native and Buckeye Firearms Foundation board of directors member Gerard Valentino was elated by the ruling and is already making plans to help his elderly mother in purchasing her first gun. "Finally, my elderly mother and grandmother can live a little safer and with a little less fear because if someone breaks in they can have a gun for self-defense."


UPDATE - It should be pointed out that the decision DID NOT strike down the ban. That is left to the trial court to do on remand.

UPDATE #2 - Brief for Buckeye Firearms Association Inc., et al. is cited in the majority opinion!

UPDATE #3 - by Ken Hanson, Esq., Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair. Hanson is the attorney of record for Buckeye Firearms Foundation, which filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court cases.

I have quickly skimmed through the opinions (the decision is 214 pages long) and the following seem to be the high points from the majority:

1. The main majority opinion is written by Justice Alito. The main opinion holds that the Second Amendment applies to the cities and states via the due process clause of the 14th amendment. (As a side note, this is probably the final nail in the coffin of the privileges and immunities clause.) The practical matter is that it does not matter how the Second Amendment is applied.

2. Alito's opinion leaves absolutely no doubt – there is a constitutional right to self defense, and people must be allowed to own/posses handguns as part of that right.

3. Chicago's actual law is still in force, as the SCOTUS remanded the case back down to the lower courts to make the ruling. However, given the Heller ban did not pass review, the Chicago ban is not going to pass review.

4. No new clues on what standard of review (level of scrutiny) is going to be applied, but the opinion is pretty clear that the Second Amendment must be treated the same as the rest of the amendments.

5. On a purely personal note, the Brief of Buckeye Firearms Foundation and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association was cited in the majority opinion at footnote 2.

6. Justice Scalia wrote a separate concurring opinion, and this opinion does nothing but shred Justice Stevens' dissent. It is extraordinarily brutal in exposing the minority for what it is, a group that wanted to disregard law simply because they personally hate guns. If you are going to read only part of the decision, read Scalia's concurrence.

7. Justice Thomas wrote a separate concurring opinion, and it is basically an epitath to the privileges and immunities clause. Thomas would have used P+I, but joins the majority result.

Attorney General Cordray released a statement praising the decision within fifteen minutes of it being released. AG Cordray co-sponsored an amicus brief in the case on the side of gun owners. His release may be found here.

Governor Strickland's office called within fifteen minutes of the decision being announced. In light of the landmark decision handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States, the Strickland for Governor campaign released the following statement, "This Supreme Court decision marks an important victory for 2nd Amendment supporters by reaffirming that Constitutional rights cannot be infringed upon by state or local governments."

UPDATE #4 - Former Congressman and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman issued a statement celebrating the ruling, and congratulating Buckeye Firearms. Portman's opponent in the November election is none other than former Handgun Control Inc. board member Lee Fisher.

UPDATE #5 - Former Congressman and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich issued a statement celebrating the ruling.

Media Coverage:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Supreme Court ruling casts doubt on local gun restrictions

A deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the Second Amendment's right to bear arms can trump state and local gun laws much like those Cleveland hopes to impose.
The ruling is significant because while the court has previously said that most other provisions of the federal Bill of Rights can be applied at the state and local level, this is the first time the court has said the same is true for the Second Amendment.

But the high court's 5-to-4 decision in McDonald vs. City of Chicago is not yet a clear-cut victory for gun rights groups or an automatic defeat for those in favor of gun control. The court said that reasonable regulation of firearms at the local level can still exist.

The question now: What is reasonable? The court's decision did not outright forbid state and local gun laws.

"This case is not the end of legal fights over gun rights; in some ways it is a beginning," said Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan Adler. "Until the federal courts flesh out the level of scrutiny that will be applied on individual restrictions, it will be hard to get a handle on this."

The Dayton Daily News - Cities can't ban handguns, court says

WASHINGTON — A divided U.S. Supreme Court handed a victory to gun advocates on Monday, June 28, striking down city bans on the private ownership of handguns.

At the same time, the justices made clear that states and local governments could still regulate the possession and use of other types of weapons.

The 5-4 decision by a deeply fractured court would appear to have little impact on Ohio because neither the state nor local governments prohibit ownership of handguns. A 2006 state law passed despite the veto of Gov. Bob Taft swept away local laws in Dayton that had banned possession of assault weapons.

"Within the state of Ohio, it will be the same tomorrow afternoon as it was yesterday afternoon," said Ken Hanson, legislative chair of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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