Attorneys for the District of Columbia argued 2nd Am only applies to militias
The city defended as constitutional its long-standing ban on handguns, a law that some gun opponents have advocated elsewhere. Civil liberties groups and pro-gun organizations say the ban in unconstitutional.
At issue in the case before a federal appeals court is whether the 2nd Amendment right to "keep and bear arms" applies to all people or only to "a well regulated militia." The Bush administration has endorsed individual gun-ownership rights but the Supreme Court has never settled the issue.
If the dispute makes it to the high court, it would be the first case in nearly 70 years to address the amendment's scope. The court disappointed gun owner groups in 2003 when it refused to take up a challenge to California's ban on high-powered weapons.
In the Washington, D.C. case, a lower-court judge told six city residents in 2004 that they did not have a constitutional right to own handguns. The plaintiffs include residents of high-crime neighborhoods who want guns for protection.
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Thanks to Robert Stevens for sending this link.