WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says Americans have a right
to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first major
pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.
The court's 5-4 ruling strikes down the District of Columbia's
32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under
the Second Amendment. The decision goes further than even the Bush
administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws
The court had not conclusively 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
The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment
protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or
whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.