The Supreme Court ruled today that the Constitution’s "right to keep and bear arms" applies nationwide. Showing the narrow balance between Liberals and Conservatives, the justices approved this individual liberty as a personal property right specified within the Bill of Rights by a narrow 5-4 margin.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment right "applies equally to the federal government and the states."
Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, for purposes of self-defense in the home. That ruling applied only to federal laws. It struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement in the District of Columbia, a unique federal city.
Gun rights proponents almost immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging gun control laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill, where handguns have been banned for nearly 30 years. Lower courts had upheld the laws, noting that judges were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.
The Supreme Court has already said that most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights serve as a check on state and local, as well as federal, laws. This ruling will serve as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach.
Alito wrote that an Amendment is fully binding on states and cities thus "limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values."