When Chicago resident Otis McDonald attempted to purchase a handgun, he was turned down because of the citywide ban on handguns. Though the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller had affirmed an individual right to bear arms, many states and municipalities still had restrictive laws in place which were not overturned by the decision.

Why weren’t laws such as those in the city of Chicago overturned by the decision in Heller? Prof. Joyce Lee Malcolm of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School explains the incorporation of the Second Amendment in McDonald v. City of Chicago.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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Related Links & Differing Views:

SCOTUSblog: “Analysis: state gun regulations and McDonald

Penn State Law Review: “Be Careful What You Wish For: Why McDonald v. City of Chicago’s Rejection of the Privileges or Immunities Clause May Not Be Such a Bad Thing for Rights”

Notre Dame Law Review: “Nonincorportation: The Bill of Rights after McDonald v. Chicago

Engage: “Criminal Law & Procedure: McDonald v. Chicago, the Meaning-Application Distinction, and ‘Of’ in the Privileges or Immunities Clause”

Northwestern University Law Review: McDonald v. Chicago: Which Standard of Scrutiny Should Apply to Gun Control Laws”