Washington, D.C., leaders have formally asked the Supreme Court to save the city’s ban on handgun ownership, the Washington Post reports. The city’s appeal says a lower- court’s ruling overturning the prohibition “drastically departs from the mainstream of American jurisprudence.” If the court agrees to take the case, as most legal experts believe is likely, it could lead to a historic decision next year on whether the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects an individual’s right to own a gun or simply imparts a collective civic right related to maintaining state militias.
A decision by the Supreme Court could carry broad implications for local governments and thrust gun control as an issue into the 2008 elections. “It is eminently reasonable to permit private ownership of other types of weapons, including shotguns and rifles, but ban the easily concealed and uniquely dangerous modern handgun,” argued D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer. It adds: “Whatever right the Second Amendment guarantees, it does not require the District [of Columbia] to stand by while its citizens die.” Most petitions for review focus on why the court should take the case, but the District’s filing serves as more of a preview of its defense of the law, filled with statistics about gun violence and the harm caused to children, women, and police officers.