The Supreme Court has just ruled that Americans do have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting. It's the justices' first huge ruling on gun rights in US history, with the justices charged with deciding whether the Second Amendment provides an individual right, or whether it only extends to militias as a collective right.
In the 5-4 ruling, the court struck down Washington DC's 32-year-old ban (one of the strictest in the nation) on handguns as being at odds with gun rights spelled out in the Second Amendment. The court has not meaningfully interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "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." To see details on the decision, read more.
In the opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the majority ruled that individuals have the right to own firearms making the DC ban, unconstitutional. Though DC has an ongoing problem with violent crime, the constitution trumped the local law in this decision, though it still allows for "common sense gun control laws." The court essentially eliminated the extremes on both freedom and restrictions. Dana Perino, White House press secretary said that the administration is "pleased" with the ruling.
For a minute-by-minute recap of the decision, SCOTUSblog has a great live blog. Do you agree with the decision?