Latest Second Amendement Update DC v Heller

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to endorse the view that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own guns, but was less clear about whether to retain the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns.

The justices were aware of the historic nature of their undertaking, engaging in an extended 98-minute session of questions and answers that could yield the first definition of the meaning of the Second Amendment in its 216 years.A key justice, Anthony Kennedy, left little doubt about his view when he said early in the proceedings that the Second Amendment gives “a general right to bear arms.”Several justices were skeptical that the Constitution, if it gives individuals’ gun rights, could allow a complete ban on handguns when, as Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out, those weapons are most suited for protection at home.”What is reasonable about a ban on possession” of handguns?” Roberts asked at one point.But Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that the District’s public safety concerns could be relevant in evaluating its 32-year-old ban on handguns, perhaps the strictest gun control law in the nation.

“Does that make it unreasonable for a city with a very high crime rate…to say no handguns here?” Breyer said.

Solicitor General Paul Clement, the Bush administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, supported the individual right, but urged the justices not to decide the other question. Instead, Clement said the court should allow for reasonable restrictions that allow banning certain types of weapons, including existing federal laws.

He did not take a position on the District law.

The court has not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The basic issue for the justices is whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Looks promising for our side. The rest

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  1. […] Latest Second Amendement Update DC v Heller […]

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