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Supreme Court, gun control, and the Second Amendment: a reckoning

The Supreme Court's next Second Amendment cases may decide which state and local gun-control laws can stand.

A customer examines a 9-mm handgun at Rink’s Gun and Sport in the Chicago suburb of Lockport, Ill.

Frank Polich/Reuters/File

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In the nearly two years since the US Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, more than 190 challenges have been filed seeking to overturn other gun-control laws or to reverse firearms convictions.

Now, with the justices examining a similar ban in place in Chicago, gun-rights advocates are hoping for another landmark constitutional victory – this time extending an individual right to keep and bear arms in cities and towns across the country. (To see a preview of this case, click here.)

But the ultimate showdown over gun control in America will be waged in a future legal case not yet on the high court's radar, analysts say. At issue in that case: Are Second Amendment rights as fundamental as freedom of speech and religion, or will gun rights be subject to lesser constitutional protection?

The answer to that question – and the potential future course of gun control – may rest with a majority of the nine men and women on the Supreme Court. When that future case arrives, it will all boil down to a three-word phrase of legal jargon: "standard of review."

What does 'standard of review' mean and how does it relate to gun rights?

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