It's been 68 years since the High Court ruled on gun rights in America. The case over Washington, DC's handgun ban will break the court's silence on the Second Amendment...
The Supreme Court announced today that it will decide whether the District of Columbia's ban on handguns violates the Constitution, a choice that will put the justices at the center of the controversy over the meaning of the Second Amendment for the first time in nearly 70 years.
The court's decision could have broad implications for gun-control measures locally and across the country and will raise a hotly contested political issue just in time for the 2008 elections.
The court will likely hear the case in March, with a decision coming before justices adjourn at the end of June.
For years, legal scholars, historians and grammarians have debated the meaning of the amendment because of its enigmatic wording and odd punctuation:
"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."
Gun rights proponents say the words guarantee the right of an individual to possess firearms. Gun-control supporters say it conveys only a civic or "collective" right to own guns as part of service in an organized military organization.
Considering the Supreme Court is majority-conservative, it will probably decide in favor of the gun advocates on this politically charged issue. According to a variety of polls, a majority of Americans — albeit a slim majority — are in favor of stricter regulation of firearms, with roughly one-third favoring the status quo. The implications of a ruling are vast: between 30% and 40% of Americans own guns (see aforelinked polls), and handgun deaths are higher in the United States than many other nations. Personally, I am for gun control, for reasons outlined in this post.
Read more about the case at ScotusWiki.