Literature Study GuidesMcDonald V Chicago

McDonald v. Chicago | Study Guide

United States Supreme Court

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United States Supreme Court

Year Decided



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Law, U.S. Supreme Court Case

At a Glance

  • McDonald v. Chicago (2010) centers on whether states and cities can restrict the right of individuals to own guns.
  • It follows up on a similar case, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008).
  • Heller considered a handgun ban in Washington, DC, a federal jurisdiction. The Heller ruling did not address whether the individual right to own guns could be applied to states and local municipalities.
  • McDonald v. Chicago aimed to build upon Heller, extending the application of the 2nd Amendment to the state and local levels.
  • McDonald challenged Chicago's restrictions on handgun ownership, arguing that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own a gun for self-defense in a high-crime neighborhood.
  • The Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that an individual's right to keep and bear arms was fundamental and therefore incorporated—or applied to state and local governments—through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which protects citizens' fundamental rights at the state level.
  • McDonald v. Chicago was the first case in which the Supreme Court used the doctrine of selective incorporation to apply the 2nd Amendment to state and local governments.


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