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Supreme Court Update: McDonald v. City of Chicago

Friday, January 8, 2010

For several months, we have been reporting on the landmark McDonald v. City of Chicago court case.  The McDonald case is one of several that were filed immediately after last year's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Court upheld the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right and invalidated Washington, D.C.'s ban on handgun possession, as well as the capital city's ban on keeping loaded, operable firearms for self-defense in the home. 

On November 16, the NRA filed its brief with the U.S. Supreme Court as Respondent in Support of Petitioner in McDonald v. City of Chicago.  The NRA brief asks the Court to hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the 14th Amendment, and makes a clear and strong case in favor of incorporation of the Second Amendment. 

The Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the McDonald v. City of Chicago case on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. 

There are two provisions in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution through which the Supreme Court should apply the Second Amendment to the states.  One is the Due Process Clause, which the Court has used to incorporate a majority of the provisions of the Bill of Rights, and the other is the Privileges or Immunities Clause.  The Supreme Court has asked the parties in McDonald v. Chicago to address both issues.   Counsel for the petitioner, Otis McDonald, focused overwhelmingly in his brief on the Privileges or Immunities Clause.  NRA, as a party to the case, focused its brief largely on the Due Process Clause (although the NRA brief also discusses the Privileges or Immunities Clause). 

NRA believes that the Court should reach the same conclusion -- that the Framers of the 14th Amendment clearly intended to apply the Second Amendment to the states -- under either provision of the 14th Amendment.  NRA has asked for the opportunity to participate in the oral argument to ensure that all arguments for applying the Second Amendment to the states are fully considered.  Gun owners will have the best chance of ultimate victory on this critical issue if all options are fully explained to the Court.  As always, NRA's goal in McDonald is to see that our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms applies to all law-abiding Americans, regardless of the state in which they live. 

Rest assured we will continue to update you on the case as it progresses.


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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.