In its second major ruling on gun rights in three years, the Supreme Court Monday extended the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. The decision will be hailed by gun rights advocates and comes over the opposition of gun control groups, the city of Chicago and four justices.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the five justice majority saying "the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner."
The ruling builds upon the Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller that invalidated the handgun ban in the nation's capital. More importantly, that decision held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was a right the Founders specifically delegated to individuals. The justices affirmed that decision and extended its reach to the 50 states. Today's ruling also invalidates Chicago's handgun ban.
The decision is 5-4, with Anthony Kennedy joining the conservative wing against the four liberals. This further clarifies that the second amendment is in fact not only an individual right but a right that extends to all Americans everywhere in the country.
The City of Chicago argued that the right to bear arms is only a federal right that can be infringed by states and localities. Ironically, most of the same liberals that argued in favor of Chicago's right to stop people from bearing arms also argue that Arizona doesn't have the right to enforce federal immigration laws. That's even though both follow the principal of the Supremacy Clause.
In fact, in the case of the Arizona law, there is more wiggle room. In that case, Arizona passed a law that mirrored federal law. In this case, Chicago passed a law the directly challenged the constitution.
That said, this ruling finally ends all constitutional debates on the second amendment. It's an individual right to bear arms and it applies to everyone and can't be infringed on by anyone.