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Supreme Court strikes down D.C. gun ban


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Author Topic: Supreme Court strikes down D.C. gun ban  (Read 78 times)
Kristina
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« on: June 26, 2008, 09:42:21 am »

High court strikes down gun ban

Story Highlights
NEW: Justices split 5-4 in favor of overturning Washington's handgun ban

Ruling could spark debate on whether right to own gun is collective or individual

Virginia Tech massacre survivor told court, "There has to be tighter gun control"

Chicago, San Francisco back Washington ban; NRA, most congressmen oppose it


 Read EXPLAINER
From Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer
     
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Washington D.C.'s sweeping ban on handguns is unconstitutional.




A gun ownership supporter holds a placard in March outside the Supreme Court in Washington.

 The justices voted 5-4 against the ban with Justice Antonin Scalia writing the opinion for the majority.

At issue in District of Columbia v. Heller was whether the city's ban violated the Second Amendment right to "keep and bear arms" by preventing individuals -- as opposed to state militias -- from having guns in their homes.

District of Columbia officials argued they had the responsibility to impose "reasonable" weapons restrictions to reduce violent crime, but several Washingtonians challenged the 32-year-old law. Some said they had been constant victims of crimes and needed guns for protection.

In March, two women went before the justices with starkly different opinions on the handgun ban.

Shelly Parker told the court she is a single woman who has been threatened by drug dealers in her Washington neighborhood.

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"In the event that someone does get in my home, I would have no defense, except maybe throw my paper towels at them," she said, explaining she told police she had an alarm, bars on her windows and a dog.

"What more am I supposed to do?" Parker recalled asking authorities. "The police turned to me and said, 'Get a gun.' "  See how proponents, opponents argued

Elilta "Lily" Habtu, however, told the high court that she supports the handgun ban, and tighter gun control in general. Habtu was in a Virginia Tech classroom in April 2007 when fellow student Seung-Hui Cho burst in and began shooting. She survived bullets to the head and arm.

"There has to be tighter gun control; we can't let another Virginia Tech to happen," she told the court. "And we're just not doing it; we're sitting around; we're doing nothing. We let the opportunity arise for more massacres."

In March 2007, a federal appeals court overturned the ban, which keeps most private citizens from owning handguns and keeping them in their homes.

It was the first time a federal appeals court ruled a gun law unconstitutional on Second Amendment grounds.

City attorneys urged the high court to intervene, warning, "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."

There were 143 gun-related murders in Washington last year, compared with 135 in 1976, when the handgun ban was enacted.

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."

The wording repeatedly has raised the question of whether gun ownership is an individual right, or a collective one pertaining to state militias and therefore subject to regulation.

The Supreme Court has avoided the question since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. The high court last examined the issue in 1939 but stayed away from the broad constitutional question.

Only Chicago, Illinois, has a handgun ban as sweeping as Washington's, though Maryland, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California, joined the Windy City in issuing briefs supporting the district's ban.

The National Rifle Association, Disabled Veterans for Self-Defense and the transgender group Pink Pistols -- along with 31 states -- filed briefs supporting the District of Columbia's gun owners.

In February, a majority of U.S. congressmen -- 55 senators and 250 representatives -- filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down Washington's ordinance.


"Our founders didn't intend for the laws to be applied to some folks and not to others," Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, said at the time.

Washington's ban applies only to handguns. The city allows possession of rifles and shotguns, although it requires that they be kept in the home, unloaded and fitted with locks or dissembled.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/26/scotus.guns/index.html
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Monique Faulkner
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2008, 11:56:01 am »



Bloomberg Approves Of Supreme Court Ruling... First Major Pronouncement On Gun Rights In U.S. History... Ruling Strikes Down DC's 32-Year-Old Handgun Ban... Decision Goes Further Than Even What Bush Administration Wanted... NRA Head: This Is Just The Beginning... NRA To File More Lawsuits To Challenge Handgun Restrictions
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Monique Faulkner
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2008, 11:57:17 am »

Bet the DC murder rate goes way up after this, along with most of the rest of the country.
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Volitzer
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2008, 12:43:12 pm »

Bet the DC murder rate goes way up after this, along with most of the rest of the country.

  Wrong, the places that have the most gun control restrictions have the highest crime rates.  DC, NYC, Chicago, Detroit LA etc.  Always in the liberal blue states.  Amazing isn't it.
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Jennifer O'Dell
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2008, 01:09:16 pm »

Bad decison.  It's true that it is debatable how much they work, though, at least according to this article:

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There were 143 gun-related murders in Washington last year, compared with 135 in 1976, when the handgun ban was enacted.
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Tom Hebert
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2008, 01:18:24 pm »

It was a bad decision, and since it was 5-4, it could be reversed once we get a Democrat in the White House.  Let D.C. decide for itself how it's going to deal with crime!

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Kristina
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2008, 11:00:12 am »

I agree!  The DC gun law may have had some problems, but this gives every area around the country the right to take every gun ordinance to court and try to strike them down.

If everyone has a gun, we'd be no better than the wild, wild west again.
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"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances."

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