The Supreme Court ruled today that the Constitution’s Second Amendment restrains government’s ability to limit “the right to keep and bear arms” significantly, advancing a recent trend by the high court to embrace gun rights, the Associated Press reports. By a 5-4 vote, the justices signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges.
Writing for the court in a case involving restrictive laws in Chicago and one of its suburbs, Justice Samuel Alito said that the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.” The court split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority. Two years ago, in a case striking down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home.