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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Gun Control Case

The U.S. Supreme Court set the stage for a major ruling on the Second Amendment Tuesday when it agreed to take a case weighing the constitutionality of a ban on handguns in Washington, D.C. Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal details the significance of the case.

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    Today's announcement that the justices will examine the constitutionality of the District of Columbia's handgun ban sets up the first showdown over gun rights at the Supreme Court in decades.

    For a look at what's at stake, we turn to NewsHour regular Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal.

    And, Marcia, what's the case? And who's asking the Supreme Court for review?

  • MARCIA COYLE, National Law Journal:

    OK, here's what happened, Ray. Dick Heller is a resident of the District of Columbia, and he wanted to have a handgun in his possession at home for personal safety reasons.

    He went to register that handgun and came up against the District of Columbia's law that forbids the registration of handguns. In effect, it forbids the possession of handguns. The law also has other provisions that say, other than handguns, if you have a firearm in the home, it must be unloaded, disassembled, or under a secure lock.

    He challenged this law, along with some others, claiming that the law violated his rights under the Second Amendment to bear arms. Eventually, it got to the top federal court for the District of Columbia, and that court ruled 2-1 that the district's law did, indeed, violate an individual's right to bear arms, to have firearms under the Second Amendment.

    Mr. Heller filed — I'm sorry, the District of Columbia then filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, and today we heard that the court will hear that case.