Most State Attorneys General Oppose D.C. Handgun Ban


State attorneys general are divided over the Washington, D.C., gun-control case to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court March 18, says Led by Texas Attorney Genral Greg Abbott, attorneys general from 31 states have filed a legal brief urging the high court to strike down the law being challenged, a 32-year-old ban on handguns. Supporting D.C. are attorneys general from five states – Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – who say reasonable regulation of dangerous firearms is constitutional and keeps the public safe.

The case hinges on whether security guard Dick Heller may bring his work-issued handgun home with him to protect himself in what he considers a dangerous area of the capital. If the court declares gun ownership an individual right, the case could leave state and local statutes vulnerable to legal attack. A Supreme Court ruling against the district's ban on a specific type of weapon could jeopardize state statutes against assault rifles, said Dennis Henigan, legal director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Though many attorneys general argue that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to guns, it would be “oversimplistic” to conclude they are against all gun control, said James Tierney, former Maine attorney general and director of Columbia University's National State Attorneys General Program.


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