This Chicago Criminal attorney isn’t surprised. The Supreme Court issued its ruling today in McDonald v. City of Chicago. This Chicago Criminal attorney has posted here, here, and here about the case this season.
Two years ago, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. ___ (2008), we held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, and we struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of handguns in the home.The city of Chicago (City) and the village of Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, have laws that are similar to the District of Columbia’s, but Chicago and Oak Park argue that their laws are constitutional because the Second Amendment has no application to the States. We have previously heldthat most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights apply with full force to both the Federal Government and the States. Applying the standard that is well established in our caselaw, we hold that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States.
What will be most interesting is how the City now crafts its regulations of guns as noted in Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion:
Given the competing interests, courts will have to try toanswer empirical questions of a particularly difficult kind.Suppose, for example, that after a gun regulation’s adoption the murder rate went up. Without the gun regulationwould the murder rate have risen even faster? How is this conclusion affected by the local recession which has left numerous people unemployed? What about budget cutsthat led to a downsizing of the police force? How effective was that police force to begin with? And did the regulation simply take guns from those who use them for lawfulpurposes without affecting their possession by criminals?
Consider too that countless gun regulations of manyshapes and sizes are in place in every State and in manylocal communities. Does the right to possess weapons forself-defense extend outside the home? To the car? To work? What sort of guns are necessary for self-defense?Handguns? Rifles? Semiautomatic weapons? When is a gun semi-automatic? Where are different kinds of weapons likely needed? Does time-of-day matter? Does the presence of a child in the house matter? Does the presence of a convicted felon in the house matter? Do police need special rules permitting patdowns designed to findguns? When do registration requirements become severe to the point that they amount to an unconstitutional ban?Who can possess guns and of what kind? Aliens? Prior drug offenders? Prior alcohol abusers? How would the right interact with a state or local government’s ability totake special measures during, say, national security emergencies? As the questions suggest, state and local gunregulation can become highly complex, and these “are onlya few uncertainties that quickly come to mind.” Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Co., 556 U. S. ___, ___ (2009) (ROB-ERTS, C. J., dissenting) (slip op., at 10).
On a non-criminal aside: The folks who are interested in State’s Rights just lost a round in their battle today with this decision.