High Court to Tackle Mojave Cross, Gun Rights

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Monday marked the start of the Supreme Court's new term and Sonia Sotomayor's first week on the bench. Now, the justices have to prepare to face big cases surrounding religious rights and gun control.

Deciding whether Chicago's handgun ban is unconstitutional is one of them.

Last year, justices declared a handgun ban in Washington, D.C., to be unconstitutional, and many are hoping that precedent will remain.

"When they decided it was an individual right in the last case... you can't say it's an individual right for citizens in Washington, D.C., but not in Maine," said Wayne Lapierre of the National Rifle Association.

"The court made it very clear that the Second Amendment right is not unlimited and that there can be restrictions on who gets guns, where they take guns, what kind of guns they get, how they're carried, how they're stored, how they're sold," said Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Also before the court is a case that involves the removal of an eight-foot cross in California's Mojave National Preserve.

The cross was put there in 1934 by World War I veterans in memory of fallen soldiers.

A park employee complained about the cross and the American Civil Liberties Union soon demanded that the cross come down.

"This shows the kind of unhinged, anti-religious fervency that the ACLU has," said Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Legal Institute. "They don't even care about our veterans... They want rip down a cross that's been up for 75 years."

Others disagree.

"A cross does not memorialize all veterans. It does not memorialize those who are Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, Muslims and other non-Christians," charged Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "And it's really not an appropriate symbol for all veterans."

The ruling could impact laws concerning religious symbols on government property.

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