Supreme Court Strengthens 2nd Amendment
Published: June 29, 2010
The LA Times reported that the Supreme Court on Monday extended the rights of gun owners by ruling that states and cities are required to abide by the 2nd Amendment. This ruling will open up the floodgates for cases that challenge gun restriction laws and for gun rights activists to say that restrictions are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that gun ownership is a fundamental right of Americans, and thus overturned a previous 19th century ruling that said the 2nd Amendment only applied to federal laws.
This ruling will undoubtedly overturn Chicago ordinances which restrict residents from having guns in their homes, and will undoubtedly begin a slew of litigation that attempts to end restrictions on gun ownership. Yet others say that it will not have much affect on gun laws except city bans.
Legal experts on both sides of the gun-control debate predicted the ruling would trigger more lawsuits. They disagreed, however, about whether it would lead to gun laws being struck down, beyond a city’s total ban on handguns.
“This case is only the beginning of the debate. Gun ownership rights — like free-speech rights — are not absolute, and state and local governments retain the authority to enact reasonable gun-control laws,” said Rick Garnett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Typically, residents can have a rifle or shotgun in any state without a permit. The main exceptions are for people with a felony record or who are mentally ill, and the Supreme Court has already said those “reasonable regulations” can stand.
The NRA says it will challenge the way many gun laws are enforced, including those in California. These laws say residents can only carry handguns with a permit, yet the NRA says police are not likely to issue these permits, and this practice will be challenged with a lawsuit. Yet legal experts still say that most laws that will apparently be challenged, will likely be upheld without a problem. Although the Supreme Court case is groundbreaking, it will not change gun policy throughout the country in the way gun activists hope.
Photo: AP via Telegraph