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McDonald v. Chicago

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McDonald v. City of Chicago[1] is a U.S. Supreme Court case which challenged Chicago's long-standing ban on handguns[2].

The case, decided on June 28, 2010, addressed the issue of whether the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to states because it is incorporated by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court held that it does. [3]

It follows the trend of another Supreme Court case decided two years earlier in 2008, District of Columbia v. Heller[4] in which the Court ruled that individual citizens have a substantive right to bear arms.



The right to bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment was reinforced in this Supreme Court decision and applied to states by way of the 14th Amendment. The case was brought by city residents who challenged various ordinances of Chicago and Oak Park that essentially banned ownership of handguns by most individuals. The case was decided in the 7th Circuit Court of appeals, where the bans were upheld.[5]

The Supreme Court granted certiorari on September 30, 2009 to hear the case in its 2010 term.[6]


The Supreme Court reversed judgment for defendants and held that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right to bear arms for individuals, as decided in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Five justices voted in favor of McDonald in the case: Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito (who wrote the plurality opinion). Dissenting votes included Justice Ginsberg, Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Stevens (who authored the dissent).

While McDonald v. Chicago is a landmark decision, the Court did not go so far as to detail what kinds of gun control regulations would violate the Second Amendment and what kinds would be permissible.


Despite the ruling, the Chicago City Council subsequently enacted new gun control measures for the city of Chicago. The new ordinance would require owners to register guns and complete basic safety training prior to being able to own a handgun. [7]


  1. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=000&invol=08-1521
  2. http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2010/03/high-court-hears-challenge-to-chicago-hand-gun-law.html
  3. http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_1521
  4. http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/07-290.html
  5. http://blogs.findlaw.com/decided/2010/06/gun-rights-ussc-extends-heller-decision-to-states.html
  6. http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_1521
  7. http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2010/07/chicago-moves-forward-with-new-gun-ban.html

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