The justices of the United States Supreme Court ruled today that a Chicago law prohibiting handgun possession in the city violated the Constitution. It is the second gun case in three years to reach the high court, and both times the justices have sided with pro-gun advocates.
Today’s 5-4 vote could have national repercussions, as the Court ruled that individual liberty outweighed state’s legislative processes when it comes to gun laws.
“It cannot be doubted that the right to bear arms was regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as states legislated in an evenhanded manner,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito.
The justices left some room for interpretation, as they added that localities could preserve “reasonable” gun control measures. Some such laws may include New York’s ban on firearms in bars and other similar mandates.
Gun rights advocates applauded the decision, while gun control advocates tried to downplay its impact nationwide. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that there are as many as 275 million guns in the U.S. In 2005, three-quarters of the 10,100 homicides by firearms were committed using handguns.