In a narrow 5-4 ruling, the United States Supreme Court has overturned the gun ban in Chicago, Illinois, and reiterated its previous rulings that individuals have a right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

The Court ruled two years ago in District of Columbia vs. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right, but the ruling was narrowly crafted and some believed it only applied to federal laws and federal enclaves like the District. In today’s McDonald vs. Chicago ruling, the Court explicitly clarified that states must also abide by the Bill of Rights in their legislation, ending any serious confusion about the meaning and scope of the Second Amendment.

Technically, the Supreme Court did not directly overturn the bans, but it did clarify the meaning of its previous rulings and sent the case back to lower courts for consideration. In practice, this means that the gun ban will either be overturned by the lower court or returned again to the Supreme Court to be overturned later.

This ruling will potentially have wide-ranging impact on state and local gun laws across the country, possibly forcing these governments to bring their laws in-line with the plain text of the Bill of Rights.

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