McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that found that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms,” as protected under the Second Amendment, is incorporated by either the Due Process Clause or Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and is thereby enforceable against the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.
Initially the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit had upheld a Chicago ordinance banning the possession of handguns as well as other gun regulations affecting rifles and shotguns, citing United States v. Cruikshank (1876), Presser v. Illinois (1886), and Miller v. Texas (1894). The petition for certiorari was filed by Alan Gura, the attorney who had successfully argued Heller. The Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association sponsored the litigation on behalf of several Chicago residents, including retiree Otis McDonald.
The oral arguments took place on March 2, 2010. On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, reversed the Seventh Circuit’s decision, holding that the Second Amendment was incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment thus protecting those rights from infringement by state and local governments. It then remanded the case back to Seventh Circuit to resolve conflicts between certain Chicago gun restrictions and the Second Amendment.
As a party to the case, NRA argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that the Second Amendment protects the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms no matter in which city or state one resides. We are optimistic the Court will hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment and that handgun bans, like those in the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park, are unconstitutional under any standard of judicial review.