LAWFUEL – The US Legal Newswire – The U.S. Supreme Court is to hear argument on whether the District of Columbia’s ban on handgun ownership violates constitutional rights to bear arms.
It is likely that the case will be heard next February or March, which will place the final decision from the justices in the middle of the presidential election campaign.
At issue is one that has polarized judges and politicians for decades: Do the Second Amendment’s 27 words bestow gun ownership as an individual right, or do they bestow a collective one — aimed at the civic responsibilities of state militias — making it therefore subject to strict government regulation.
CNN reports that City leaders had urged the high court to intervene, saying refusal to do so could prove dire.
“The District of Columbia — a densely populated urban locality where the violence caused by handguns is well documented — will be unable to enforce a law that its elected officials have sensibly concluded saves lives,” wrote attorneys for the city.
The Second Amendment says: “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.”
How the court will construe that language is largely guesswork. The justices last considered the Second Amendment in 1939, issuing a ruling that both sides in the debate now claim as support for their position.