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McDonald v. Chicago Viewing Guide

Access our Homework Help video on the McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case and use the following lesson to help your students understand the material!


Does the Second Amendment prevent a city from effectively outlawing handgun ownership? In 2008, Otis McDonald attempted to purchase a handgun for self-defense purposes in a Chicago suburb. However, the city of Chicago had banned handgun ownership in 1982 when it passed a law that prevented issuing handgun registrations. McDonald argued this law violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges and Immunities Clause as well as the Due Process Clause. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that McDonald’s Second Amendment right to bear arms was protected at the state and local level by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Viewing Questions:

  1. Why did McDonald seek to purchase a handgun?
  2. What legislative decision was made in 1982 in Chicago that impacted handgun access?
  3. What rights did Alan Gura (McDonald’s lawyer) argue Chicago violated?
  4. What is incorporation?
  5. What was the argument the lawyer who represented Chicago made?
  6. Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling? Why?
  7. Did the Court settle the issue of whether the Second Amendment is incorporated to apply to states and localities?


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