Justices Extend Gun Owner Rights Nationwide

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The U.S. Supreme Court came down on the side of gun rights Monday, ruling in a 5-4 vote that Second Amendment limits the ability of the government to restrict "the right to keep and bear arms."

Writing for the majority in the case which challenged Chicago's ban on handguns, Justice Samuel Alito said owning guns is not just a federally protected right, but one that applies to all states and cities.

"It is clear that the framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty," Alito wrote in the 45-page decision.

Referencing the 2008 case of the District of Columbia v. Heller in which the court declared individuals could possess handguns for purposes of self-defense, Alito also indicated less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges.

"It is important to keep in mind that Heller, while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose," he wrote.

However, Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor disagreed with the ruling.

"The fact that the right to keep and bear arms appears in the Constitution should not obscure the novelty of the Court's decision to enforce that right against the States," Stevens wrote.

While the court's decision did not directly strike down Chicago's gun laws, it left little doubt that they would eventually be abolished.

Monday's decision represented a major win for gun right's advocates. The ruling will likely be used to fight restrictive guns law in courts across the country.

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