Supreme Court to Decide Whether Second Amendment Applies to States


When they decided to actually start thinking about the Second Amendment again after decades of neglect, looks like this Supreme Court was serious. Hot on the heels of 2008's Heller case in which they declared that the Second Amendment does indeed protect an individual right, they have now agreed in their coming season to consider the case of McDonald v. Chicago. The gist from the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would decide whether an individual's right to own guns for self-defense—as articulated by the high court in 2008 when it struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns—also covers states and other cities with gun-control laws.

The question of whether the Second Amendment only applies to the federal government and federal enclaves like the District is one that was not addressed in the decision in Heller v. District of Columbia.

More details from the stupendous ScotusBlog on the various cases the courts could have used to take on this issue:

The Court had three cases from which to choose on the Second Amendment issue — two cases involving a Chicago gun ban, and one case on a New York ban on a martial-arts weapon.  It chose one of the Chicago cases — McDonald v. Chicago (08-1521) — a case brought to it by Alan Gura, the Alexandria, VA. lawyer who won the 2008 decision for the first time recognizing a constitutional right to have a gun for personal use, at least in self-defense in the home (District of Columbia v. Heller).  A second appeal on the Chicago dispute had been filed by the National Rifle Association (NRA v. Chicago, 08-1497).  Presumably, the Court will hold onto that case until it decides McDonald; the same is likely for the New York case, Maloney v. Rice (08-1592) — a case in which Justice Sonia Sotomayor had participated when she was a judge on the Second Circuit Court.

Past Reason writings from me and from Damon Root on the buildup to this case and on the controversy over the meaning of the 14th Amendment and whether it can or should be used to thus stymie states from restricting weapons possession rights. A July Reason interview with super gun rights lawyer Alan Gura on the Chicago case and other gun rights issue moving through America's court, post-Heller.

And for the full, full story of Heller itself, check out my book Gun Control on Trial.