On Tuesday, March 2, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. The case may well decide the scope and nature of gun laws in the United States for decades to come. The final decision will be handed down in a few months, most likely in June.
As we’ve reported in past alerts and in NRA magazines, McDonald is one of two challenges to the Chicago handgun ban that were filed immediately after gun owners’ landmark 2008 victory in District of Columbia v. Heller. After the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled—wrongly—that 19th century cases denied any right to Second Amendment protection against state and local laws, both McDonald and the companion case, NRA v. City of Chicago, were appealed.
The Court agreed to hear the McDonald case, but since that decision would affect the NRA case equally, the NRA was also a party to the McDonald case, and the Court granted us a share of the oral argument time.
To make our argument, NRA was fortunate to be represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, perhaps the most highly respected and experienced Supreme Court advocate in the nation. Clement has argued more than 50 cases before the high Court and, prior to representing NRA in this case, authored the pro-Second Amendment “friend of the court” brief joined by 251 U.S. House members and 58 U.S. Senators.
Solicitor General Clement strongly argued on behalf of NRA’s members—especially in opposing the idea that the Court could somehow apply only a “watered down version” of the Second Amendment to the states, so that states and cities could still pass anti-gun laws that the federal government could not.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox commented after the argument:
“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. This view is shared by a bipartisan group of 309 members of Congress from both chambers, 38 state attorneys general and the majority of the American people. We look forward to the decision from the Court later this Term.”