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U.S. Supreme Court questions DC gun ban

At a court session Tuesday, majority judges seemed to support an individual's right to bear arms.

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A majority of US Supreme Court justices appear poised to embrace an individual rights view of the Second Amendment. But a clear consensus did not emerge during historic oral arguments Tuesday on how precisely the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" should be enforced – and limited – by the courts.

The justices engaged in more than 90 minutes of spirited questioning in a potential landmark case involving a legal challenge to a Washington, D.C. law banning handguns.

The case is being closely watched by gun control advocates who are concerned that should the high court strike down the DC ban and support an individual's right to keep and bear arms, it might trigger a proliferation of military-grade weapons among civilians. Some analysts suggest it could result not only in ownership of machine guns, but also of missiles and other military-grade ordinance.

Gun rights advocates are hopeful that the high court will firmly establish an individual right to arms. But they are divided over how much that right should be limited.

The case of District of Columbia v. Heller involves a security guard who is asking the courts to declare Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban an unconstitutional infringement of his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. His lawyer, Alan Gura, says the constitution protects his right to keep a handgun at home for self defense.


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