The Washington DC Supreme Court announced today that they will decide whether or not handguns should be banned in the city. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the scope of the Second Amendment since a 1939 decision. That decision upheld a federal gun control law but did not definitively resolve the constitutional issue.
The justices said they would review a precedent-setting ruling by a U.S. appeals court that broadly interpreted an individual’s constitutional right under the Second Amendment to bear arms and struck down the city’s law for violating those rights.
The cities lawyers argued the amendment refers to the right to bear arms in connection with service in a state-regulated militia but not for individuals to keep for protection or personal use in their own home. However, the appeals court took the position that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The Justices are viewing this case on the basis of whether or not the Washington DC handgun ban violates individuals Second Amendment rights.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case most likely in late February or in March, with a ruling expected by the end of June. The decision could be a factor in the political debate in the 2008 elections.