Judge: Second Amendment Includes the Right to Purchase Guns

In a ruling earlier this month, a U.S. District judge pointed out once again it is impossible to ban guns in the United States.

In the 1980s, Chicago passed an ordinance which did not allow handguns to be registered within the city, essentially making it a crime to possess one within city limits. The ordinance remained in place even after the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v Heller in which it ruled that the Second Amendment included the right to self-defense and that handguns were a reasonable means of doing that. It would take the Court’s 2010 ruling in a case specifically targeting the city’s ordinance to end the more than thirty year ban. In McDonald v Chicago the Supreme Court expanded on its Heller decision by claiming that the right to possess arms for self defense was a fundamental right protected under the Fourteenth Amendment.

In response, that same year Chicago passed another ordinance outlawing the private transfer of guns by owners and prohibiting gun shops from operating within the city.

In spite of its reputation as one of the most violent cities in the nation (a distinction recent crime statistics are showing is inaccurate) Chicago has historically had some of the strictest gun laws in the country. This has inevitably made it a target of the National Rifle Association. It was unsurprising when a coalition of concerned citizens and gun dealers immediately filed suit claiming violations of their Second Amendment rights.

The city argued that by banning sales of firearms within the city deterred criminals from trying to buy them since gang members would be unlikely to try and purchase them from suburban shops. They also argued that the shops were frequent targets of burglars and that gun dealers were not closely monitored by the federal government.

None of these arguments persuaded U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang, who ruled that the ban on gun shops was unconstitutional. He acknowledged the city’s fundamental duty to combat gun violence and protect its citizens, but said, “Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms, and at the same time the evidence does not support that the complete ban sufficiently furthers the purposes the ordinance tries to serve.”

To come to his conclusion, Chang looked at the historical argument as to whether the activity being banned – the selling of firearms – was outside of the scope of the Second Amendment, a requirement after the Heller decision. In this, the city failed to make its case.

As he writes in his order granting the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, “But on the other side of this case is another feature of government: Certain fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution, put outside government’s reach, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment. This right must also include the right to acquire a firearm.”

Now we know that the Second Amendment not only guarantees the right to bear arms for a well-armed militia, but also for self-defense and it also protects the right to buy them, just as the founding fathers intended.

Still, the judge says the city still has a right to set regulations that do not violate the Second Amendment. While citizens have a right to acquire firearms, he writes that the right “is far from absolute: There are many long-standing restrictions on who may acquire firearms (for examples, felons and the mentally ill have long been banned) and there are many restrictions on the sales of arms (for example, licensing requirements for commercial sales).”

It is for that reason the judge has stayed enforcement of his order to give the city time to enact sales and transfer restrictions that do not amount to a complete ban. They have six months.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

324 comments

Cecile Lemay
Cecile Lemay3 months ago

thanks for the article.

Cecile Lemay
Cecile Lemay3 months ago

You're welcome. Always more on the way. Stay tuned!

Cecile Lemay
Cecile Lemay3 months ago

thanks for the article.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for the article.

Judith C.
Judith C.2 years ago

Noted

Steven Gregory Davis

@Ellen G. It is attitudes like yours, that cause such HATRED towards Americans. I realize that with a probable IQ matching your shoe size,it is very difficult for you to grasp even the most basic concepts, but I'll do my best anyhow:
When the Constitution was drawn and ratified, they included the right to bear arms, because at the time America was truly still a frontier...Settlers had to defend themselves against wild animals such as bears and wolves, and NATIVE AMERICANS, whose land they were busily stealing.
Holding a Bible in one hand and an ASSAULT rifle in the other, wasn't what our founding fathers had in mind when they created this great nation...and your Love it or Leave it attitude, is what is TRULY UnAmerican and sheds a very bad light on the rest of our nation. What is the difference between you (your kind) and the Islamic fanatics toting their Koran in one hand and a Kalashnikov in the other????

Joseph Glackin
Joseph Glackin2 years ago

Sarah H.~~~~

You might want to re-think just how "safe" a gun in your home makes you, Sarah:

"Another 2003 study, by Douglas Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania, found that females living with a gun in the home were 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun at home."

"For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/dangerous-gun-myths.html?_r=0

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

The 2nd amendment is to protect ourselves. The police can't be everywhere, we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, our families and our property.

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer2 years ago

Ellen G Do you mean like a Communist country like Communist China that Bush43 made the U.S. a debtor nation to with his two off budget supplemental wars and his two unfunded tax cuts to his 1% benefactors during times of those wars that never created almost none of the jobs promised??? If that is the Communist country you wish to try to send any dissenting voice to your pathetic, NRA-lie filled posts then all I have to say is come and try... I will be waiting locked and loaded for you or any other anti-American who believes they are the only ones entitled to Constitutionally guarranteed freedoms, you cannot pick and choose which parts of OUR Constitution you want protections from while denying others the freedoms guarranteed by other parts of that great document...

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer2 years ago

David F I highly doubt that you would be here posting your crap (Damn that open-door policy to hell...lol) if not for Lady Liberty Holding that door open for the policy for the world to send her "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." That is still inscibed on her pedestal no matter how your ilk tries to ignore it... They just forgot to include the part that stated "none of David F's ignorant ancestors allowed". And P.S. New York has many good guys with guns who say they would love to meet with idiots like you anytime, so y'all come on up and I will personally introduce you too them... Steve