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US Supreme Court Considers Landmark Gun Rights Case


The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, considers a landmark case concerning the right of Americans to possess guns.

The Court is hearing arguments on whether to strike down or uphold Washington, D.C.'s ban on handgun ownership and strict rules regarding the storage of rifles and shotguns.

The decision could have wide impact because it may clarify for the first time what the "the right to bear arms" means in the U.S. Constitution's second amendment.

Supporters of gun rights say the constitutional amendment is an endorsement of the individual's right to own a gun. But proponents of gun control laws say the "right to bear arms" refers to a state's right to have an armed militia.

The Bush administration is itself divided on the issue. The Justice Department will tell the court that an individuals right to own a gun is subject to reasonable government restrictions.

However, Vice President Dick Cheney has joined a group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in urging a stronger stand in favor of gun rights.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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