Amicus Brief: McDonald v. Chicago

Published June 28, 2010

McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 3020 (2010), was a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States on June 28, 2010, that determined whether the Second Amendment applies to the individual states.

Maureen Martin, senior fellow for legal affairs at The Heartland Institute, filed an amicus brief in that case. The Court cited Martin four times in its decision.

The Court held that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.

The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision inMcDonald v. Chicago and remanded it back to Seventh Circuit to resolve conflicts between certain Chicago gun restrictions and the Second Amendment. The Court of Appeals had upheld a Chicago ordinance banning the possession of handguns as well as other gun regulations affecting rifles and shotguns, citing United States v. Cruikshank, Presser v. Illinois, and Miller v. Texas.

The petition for certiorari was filed by Alan Gura, the attorney who had successfully argued Heller, and Chicago-area attorney David G. Sigale. The Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association sponsored the litigation on behalf of several Chicago residents, including retiree Otis McDonald.