The Supreme Court has agreed to examine one of the most disputed provisions of the Constitution – the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, says the Christian Science Monitor. The court will har arguments, probably in March, on an appeal over the constitutionality of a Washington, D.C., law that bans possession of all handguns.
The case is expected to make guns a key issue in next year’s presidential and congressional elections, with the high court likely to hand down a decision in late June. “This will be one of the biggest decisions ever to come down at that part of the political schedule,” says Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “For the first time in history we could get a definitive ruling on what the Second Amendment really means,” adds Dave Workman, an editor at Gun Week in Bellevue, Wa. “Gun rights is going to become a centerpiece of the 2008 presidential race.” It will the first time since 1939 that the Supreme Court will confront whether the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right of gun ownership or merely a collective right to keep and bear arms while serving in a state militia. The answer could set the ground rules for gun-control laws across the country.