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Banning Handguns - Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove and the Second Amendment

NCJ Number
Washington University Law Quarterly Volume: 60 Issue: 3 Dated: (1982) Pages: 1087-1113
E S Freibrun
Date Published
32 pages
Legal and historical precedents support the constitutionality under second amendment guarantees of the Morton Grove, Ill., ordinance banning handgun ownership.
In 1981, the village of Morton Grove became the first community in the nation to ban handguns in order to reduce handgun-related accidents and crimes. An unsuccessful challenge to the ordinance (Quilici v. Village of Morton Grove) raised basic issues about the right to keep and bear arms granted by the Second Amendment. Legal controversy revolves around the question of whether the Amendment refers to individuals or the collective. Examination of the history of the Amendment's creation strongly suggests that framers of the Constitution intended to ensure state power by maintaining an effective militia. The case raises the question of whether the power to regulate possession of handguns should be in the hands of local legislators. Only the Supreme Court can decide this issue. Precedent, however, empowers State and municipal governments to enact firearms control legislation under their own constitutions. The only judicially recognized purpose behind the second amendment is protection of the arguably obsolete collective right to maintain a state militia. Should the Supreme Court decide that individuals' right to keep and bear arms are not protected by the second amendment, Congress could conceivably enact a nationwide ban on handgun possession. Extensive footnotes accompany the text.