Portions of this story came from the Associated Press, Mark Sherman
In its second major ruling on gun rights in three years, the Supreme Court extended the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the five justice majority saying “the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner.”
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in March that the Second Amendment didn’t currently apply to the states and therefore Massachusetts had the power to regulate gun ownership.
SJC Justice Ralph Gants, writing for the unanimous court at the time, said that the Second Amendment imposed no limits on the state’s ability to regulate the possession of firearms and ammunition.
“These cases are the law of the land until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, and we are therefore bound by them,” he wrote.
The state justices went ahead and ruled, even though in a November oral argument they had wondered if they should wait for the Supreme Court ruling.
In a landmark decision in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protected an individual’s right to own a firearm for self-defense, but it limited the reach of its ruling to “federal enclaves” like the District of Columbia. The ruling builds upon the Court’s 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller that invalidated the handgun ban in the nation’s capital. More importantly, that decision held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was a right the Founders specifically delegated to individuals. The justices affirmed that decision and extended its reach to the 50 states.