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After Supreme Court ruling, will gun-control laws be under siege?

A Supreme Court decision Monday threw doubt on a Chicago handgun ban. The ruling could lead to a spate of legal challenges against gun-control laws nationwide.

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But the more cities pursue these types of laws, the more they will encourage gun-rights advocates to seek to strike them down, experts say.

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Monday’s ruling “opens up any state or local gun laws that go too far – that are not truly effective in terms of public safety and are designed to discourage gun ownership,” says Alan Gura, a lawyer who won the Washington case and represented the plaintiffs who challenged Chicago’s handgun ban.

“Some laws will be in trouble and some will survive,” Mr. Gura says.

Gun-rights advocates are expected to track Chicago’s next steps. If the city “takes an obstructionist approach to resist the [Supreme Court] opinion, they’re going to find out this will be a very expensive and lengthy process,” says Gura.

“They need to come to terms with reality. People have a meaningful constitutional right and [the city] needs to respect that and move on,” he says.

Chicago mayor 'never giving up'

Yet if laws are written the right way, gun-control advocates are confident that they will withstand legal challenges. “All of those challenges should fail,” says Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington.

What works, he says, are “strong, common sense gun laws allowing law-abiding people guns in their home for self-defense.” The Second Amendment does not prohibit laws that were drafted to prohibit gun trafficking, he adds.

For his part, Mayor Daley said Monday that he was “never giving up” in this particular fight. He likened the National Rife Association to embattled oil giant BP: “If you think BP is tough to tackle, this is tough to tackle."

He added: “They are stronger than Obama, Daley. They can’t be sued. They are the power of America.… They give a lot of money to politicians."

IN PICTURES: The debate over gun rights