Court Hears Gun Case Today

Nation's firearms laws in the balance as Supremes hear arguments
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2008 9:08 AM CDT
Guns line the walls of the firearms reference collection at the Washington Metropolitan Police Department headquarters. DC's ban on guns is to be scrutinized by the Supreme Court.    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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(Newser) – One of the oldest and most hotly debated constitutional amendments—the right to bear arms—comes under scrutiny by the Supreme Court today. The court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of Washington DC's stringent ban on handguns. The ruling, which will arrive in June, is sure to have a major impact on the national debate over firearms, USA Today notes.

"A Supreme Court decision has a moral, political, and cultural meaning as well as a legal meaning," says a Temple law professor. "I think it is going to have a huge impact." The court has never directly addressed the fundamental question of the 2nd Amendment—whether individuals, not just those in a militia, have a right to keep weapons.