Will Supreme Court overturn state, local gun bans?

The Supreme Court takes a case on a hot-button issue: Whether the 2nd Amendment applies to the states

By Alex Koppelman
Published September 30, 2009 5:15PM (EDT)

The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear what could end up being one of the most important cases in the history of the battle over gun control and the Second Amendment.

The case follows in the wake of the court's landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. For the first time, the justices found that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, rather than "a right to participate in the common defense, as D.C.'s lawyer argued, and it struck down the city's handgun ban.

But Heller only affected the federal goverment -- and, by extension, places like the nation's capital. Though the courts have ruled over the years that various parts of the Bill of Rights bind state governments as well as the feds, that doctrine has never been applied to the Second Amendment. Given the current makeup of the court, it's likely that is about to change, and that certain state and local restrictions on guns will be declared unconstitutional.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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