The Supreme Court set up a historic decision on gun control Wednesday, saying it will rule on whether restrictive state and local laws violate the Second Amendment right to gun ownership that it recognized last year.
The landmark 2008 decision to strike down the District of Columbia's ban on handgun possession was the first time the court had said the amendment grants an individual right to own a gun for self-defense. But the 5 to 4 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond the federal government and federal enclaves such as Washington.
Most court observers say they think that the five justices who recognized the individual right will also find that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments, a move that could spark challenges of state and local laws governing gun registration, how and when the weapons can be carried, and storage requirements.
The court will hear a challenge of handgun laws in Chicago and the neighboring village of Oak Park, Ill. It was filed by Alexandria lawyer Alan Gura, who successfully argued the Heller case. He said the Chicago ban is “identical” to the one found unconstitutional in the District.
The announcement came as the court prepared for its new term, which will officially begin on Monday. Justices sifted through more than 2,000 petitions accumulated through the summer and selected 10 to hear.
Also on the list was an examination of an anti-terrorism statute, widely used by federal prosecutors, that bans material support to groups that the State Department designates as terrorist organizations. Read more