United States v. Cruikshank

The Second Amendment attracted serious judicial attention with the Reconstruction era case of United States v. Cruikshank which ruled that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not cause the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, to limit the powers of the State governments, stating that the Second Amendment “has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government.”

Cruikshank was the first case to come before the Supreme Court that involved a possible violation of the Second Amendment. In its ruling, the Court did not incorporate the Bill of Rights to the states. Decades after Cruikshank, the Supreme Court began incorporating the Bill of Rights to apply to state governments. The Court incorporated the First Amendment’s freedom of assembly in De Jonge v. Oregon (1937), while the Second Amendment was incorporated in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010).