McDonald v. Chicago (Alito)

17 Oct

Cite as: 561 U. S. 3025 (2010)
Opinion of the Court

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
_________________
No. 08–1521
_________________
OTIS MCDONALD, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. CITY OF
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ET AL.
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT
[June 28, 2010]

 

JUSTICE ALITO announced the judgment of the Court
and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to
Parts I, II–A, II–B, II–D, III–A, and III–B, in which THE
CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE SCALIA, JUSTICE KENNEDY, and
JUSTICE THOMAS join, and an opinion with respect to
Parts II–C, IV, and V, in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE,
JUSTICE SCALIA, and JUSTICE KENNEDY join.

Two years ago, in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554
U. S. 570 (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 held
that 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 case
law, we hold that the Second Amendment right is fully

2

applicable to the States.

I

Otis McDonald, Adam Orlov, Colleen Lawson, and
David Lawson (Chicago petitioners) are Chicago residents
who would like to keep handguns in their homes for self-
defense but are prohibited from doing so by Chicago’s
firearms laws. A City ordinance provides that ““[n]o person
shall . . . possess . . . any firearm unless such person is the
holder of a valid registration certificate for such firearm.””
Chicago, Ill., Municipal Code §8–-20–-040(a) (2009). The
Code then prohibits registration of most handguns, thus
effectively banning handgun possession by almost all
private citizens who reside in the City. §8-–20-–050(c).
Like Chicago, Oak Park makes it “”unlawful for any person
to possess . . . any firearm,”” a term that includes “”pistols,
revolvers, guns and small arms . . . commonly known as
handguns.”” Oak Park, Ill., Municipal Code §§27–-2-–1
(2007), 27-–-1–1 (2009).

Chicago enacted its handgun ban to protect its residents
““from the loss of property and injury or death from fire-
arms.”” See Chicago, Ill., Journal of Proceedings of the
City Council, p. 10049 (Mar. 19, 1982). The Chicago peti-
tioners and their amici, however, argue that the handgun
ban has left them vulnerable to criminals. Chicago Police
Department statistics, we are told, reveal that the City’’s
handgun murder rate has actually increased since the ban
was enactedand that Chicago residents now face one of
the highest murder rates in the country and rates of other
violent crimes that exceed the average in comparable
cities.2
—————— —————
1 See Brief for Heartland Institute as Amicus Curiae 6–-7 (noting that
handgun murder rate was 9.65 in 1983 and 13.88 in 2008).
2 Brief for Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Inc., et al. as Amici Curiae
8-–9 (““In 2002 and again in 2008, Chicago had more murders than any
other city in the U. S., including the much larger Los Angeles and New

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