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June 28, 2010

Firearms Industry Hails Victory in Supreme Court Second Amendment Case

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry – hailed today's United States Supreme Court 5-4 decision written by Justice Alito that ruled the individual right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies to the states and local government.

"Today’s ruling is a victory for freedom and liberty,” said NSSF President Stephen L. Sanetti.  “All law-abiding Americans, no matter whether they live in a big city like Chicago or in rural Wyoming, have the same Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Constitutional rights don’t stop at state or city borders. Cities like Chicago and New York and states like California must now respect the Second Amendment.”

The case before the Court, McDonald v. City of Chicago,  was filed in 2008 a day after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller — in which the high court  reaffirmed that the Second Amendment protects an "individual" right to keep and bear arms. The Heller decision, however, did not reach the question of whether the Second Amendment also applied to the states. 

Immediately after Heller, several Chicago residents including retired maintenance worker Otis McDonald filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city's long-standing gun ban. The Chicago-based federal courts ruled that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states and local governments, setting the stage for the Supreme Court to decide the question it left unanswered in its Heller decision. 

"Today's decision marks the beginning of a new era of civil rights litigation as laws and regulations that infringe upon and violate the individual right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment, are challenged,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.  “As the trade association for America’s firearms industry, our members make the products through which our Second Amendment rights are realized. Just as the First Amendment protects and shields newspapers and media, the Second Amendment secures constitutional protections for our industry.”   

NSSF filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of McDonald.  

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