A Supreme Court decision Monday threw doubt on a Chicago handgun ban. The ruling could lead to a spate of legal challenges against gun-control laws nationwide.
Gun-rights advocates say that a US Supreme Court ruling today will embolden them to challenge gun-control laws in cities across the country.
But lessons from Washington, which had a similar law declared unconstitutional in 2008, suggest that if tough gun-control laws are rewritten carefully, they can survive constitutional scrutiny.
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In both the Chicago and Washington cases, the Supreme Court rulings focused on the right to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense. But the rulings also made it clear that the court would not stand in the way of reasonable local gun laws outside the home.
After their gun ban was struck down, Washington lawmakers adopted tougher requirements for anyone seeking a gun license, including a four-hour class on firearm safety and passing an exam. It also enacted an assault-weapons ban and required registration of all firearms in the home.
These narrower gun laws have been consistently upheld despite numerous attempts to overturn them.
In all likelihood, Chicago will follow Washington by introducing legislation that increases the restrictions on gun ownership – including some of the same restrictions put in place by Washington. In a press conference Monday, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said that the city’s legal counsel was currently redrafting the handgun ordinance “in a reasonable and responsible way to protect Second Amendment rights and protect Chicagoans from gun violence.”