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Story Archives: District of Columbia and the Second Amendment
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|District of Columbia and the Second Amendment|
Hearing oral arguments Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court entertained a challenge to Washington, D.C.'s ban on handguns.
The hearing marked the first time in 70 years the Supreme Court took up a case directly involving the Second Amendment.
Justices are expected to render a ruling on the District of Columbia gun ban this summer.
The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the District of Columbia violates the Second Amendment by prohibiting individuals from owning handguns in the city.
On the books since 1976, the District of Columbia law bans handgun registration, bars concealed weapons possession and requires shotguns and rifles to be registered and kept unloaded and disassembled or locked.
The law was challenged by six District of Columbia residents. They wanted to legally possess handguns in their homes for self-protection. A U.S. District Court threw out their challenge. A Washington-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, though, that a special police officer was wrongly denied a handgun permit. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals also said the city could not ban handguns in the home or require that residents keep their guns dismantled or equipped with a trigger lock.
Of course, the District of Columbia appealed the Court of Appeals ruling to the Supreme Court.
In the Supreme Court hearing Tuesday, attorneys representing the District of Columbia argued the Second Amendment did not apply to individual rights. Rather, they said, the Second Amendment applied in a "military context."
U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement disagreed. He said, "The Second Amendment as it is written guarantees an individual right."
In tipping his hand on how he may rule, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is viewed as a swing vote on the divided Supreme Court, explained that he believes the Second Amendment covers both the right for states to arm militias and the rights of individuals to own guns.
If Kennedy's remarks are an indication on how he may rule, Second Amendment advocates should be pleased when the Supreme Court hands down its decision later this year.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|