High Court Strikes Down D.C. Gun Ban

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The nation's high court upheld the Second Ammendment, Thursday, in a 5-4 ruling allowing Americans to own guns for protection and for hunting.

The move strikes down Washington, DC's three-decade ban on handguns. It also affects Washington's requirement that guns be equipped with trigger locks.

Click the play button for more with Horace Cooper of the American Civil Rights Union.

Justice Antonin Scalia said of the decision that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said.

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Gun rights supporters were happy with the decision.

"I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

Others expressed disappointment.

"Unfortunately and disappointingly, the Supreme Court opted not to uphold the three-decade-old handgun ban in the District of Columbia," D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said during a news conference Thursday morning.

"It is important to both respect the court's authority and then to act quickly," Fenty said.

Fenty said the Metropolitan Police Department has 21 days to develop a system for citizens to register lawful handguns in their homes.

Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles said that rules on who can apply for gun licenses will not change. Applicants must be mentally competent adults and their fingerprints will remain on file with the police department.

Until then, D.C.'s gun ban will remain in effect. Automatic and semi-automatic guns remain illegal, Fenty said. Citizens still can't carry guns outside the home in D.C.

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