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Supreme Court to Rule on State & Local Gun Laws

By Caleb Groos on September 30, 2009 12:55 PM

We knew it was coming, but today the Supreme Court announced it will take a case that will provide a test for how Second Amendment gun rights will apply outside of Washington, D.C. Last year, in a hotly contested ruling, the Supreme Court announced individual Second Amendment rights for those in the District of Columbia. Now we may learn what type of gun laws will be allowed in cities across America.

As reported by the Washington Post, the Supreme Court will hear the case McDonald v. Chicago. Alan Gura, the same attorney who successfully challenged Washington D.C.'s gun ban, represents plaintiffs against Chicago's gun restrictions, which are reportedly similar to those struck down in D.C.

The Supreme Court's ruling in the D.C. case, District of Columbia v. Heller, was portrayed as remarkable because it announced for the first time that Second Amendment gun rights are individual rights (rather than rights only associated with militias protecting against tyranny from the federal government). The Supreme Court found D.C.'s ban on handguns to violate individuals' Second Amendment rights. However, the case applied only to the District of Columbia and not to any states or cities outside D.C.

All eyes will be watching to see what the Supreme Court does. It could either simply decide whether or not individual Second Amendment rights apply to residents of each state, or it could go further and detail what types of gun restrictions will be allowed going forward.

As held in the D.C. case, individuals have Second Amendment rights, but some gun restrictions may satisfy constitutional requirements. Many (including lower courts) hope that the Supreme Court offers specific clarification as to which types of gun restrictions will pass muster and which won't.

Other cities, including New York, face similar challenges to their gun laws.

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