McDonald v. Chicago | Homework Help from the Bill of Rights Institute
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McDonald v. Chicago | Homework Help from the Bill of Rights Institute

October 9, 2019

Male Presenter: In
2010, the Supreme Court ruled that an individual’s
right to bear arms as a citizen
of the country also protected them against state laws banning guns. Female Presenter: On what
basis was the case decided? This is the story of McDonald v.
Chicago. [music] Male Presenter: In 2008,
various neighborhoods in inner-city Chicago were
experiencing a sharp decline. Plagued with crime and violence, many
citizens hoped to defend themselves. Female Presenter: One of these
citizens was 76-year-old Otis McDonald,
a retired mechanical engineer who hoped to ride out his
twilight years in the Morgan Park neighborhood where
he had lived since 1971. With his own property
having been broken into five times, McDonald sought to purchase a handgun,
but he was required to register the gun with the city. Male Presenter: However,
this wasn’t so easy. In 1982,
Chicago passed the handgun ban and refused to issue any
more registrations, but McDonald saw that it’s
his Second Amendment right as an American to be
able to purchase a gun. Female Presenter:
Along with three other Chicagoans, he sued, went through the court system,
and eventually had his case ruled before the Supreme Court. Male Presenter: A legal showdown
highlighting perhaps our most controversial amendment awaited with McDonald positioned
front and center. Female Presenter: McDonald’s attorney
was 39-year-old litigator, Alan Gura. Gura argued that the privileges or immunities clause
of the 14th Amendment should be interpreted to extend
the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to bear
arms to the state level, a process known
as incorporation, so that city or state regulations
could not infringe on that right. Male Presenter: He also argued that
when the city of Chicago banned firearms,
they had violated McDonald’s 14th Amendment right to due process. Female Presenter: The opposition came
by way of Attorney James Feldman. Feldman, an experienced Supreme
Court litigator, defended Chicago’s power to enact
their own gun policies. Male Presenter: He argued that
owning a handgun is not an individual right protected under the 14th
Amendment’s due process clause. Female Presenter:
Both sides presented strong arguments
and tensions were high. Male Presenter: It
wasn’t a landslide. In a split five to four
ruling, the supreme court declared that the due process clause does, in fact, incorporate the Second Amendment’s
right to bear arms. Female Presenter: Justice Samuel
Alito wrote for the majority that gun ownership was
an American’s fundamental right. Chicago’s handgun ban was lifted
and McDonald, along with the citizens of Chicago, could purchase
handguns for self-defense. Male Presenter: The
majority justices referred to the 2008 case District
of Columbia v. Heller as precedent. In that case, Alan Gura had
successfully argued to overturn Washington DC’s gun ban
on Second Amendment grounds. Female Presenter: In the McDonald
case, the majority decided that the right to self-defense
applied on a state level as well. Male Presenter: The
senators held firm in their beliefs
that local government should be able to wield powers within
their boundaries as they see fit. Female Presenter: They argued
that the Second Amendment did not include a general
right to private self-defense and also that the Second
Amendment should not be considered a fundamental right
for purpose of incorporation. Male Presenter: The Supreme
Court’s ruling led to a reevaluation of multiple local
and state gun control laws. It’s clear that gun ownership remains
a divisive issue in our country. How long will it be before another
case divides not only our supreme court but the dueling
ideologies of American citizens? This was the story of McDonald v.
Chicago. If you guys found this
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