WASHINGTON - Oral arguments began Tuesday in a key Second Amendment case that could affect gun ownership laws nationwide.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if states or cities can keep law-abiding citizens from owning guns. Chicago's 28-year ban on handguns is at the center of the case.
Some 90 million Americans own 200 million guns, making the Supreme Court case one with high implications. The court ruled 20 months ago that the citizens of Washington D.C., have that right to bear arms.
Those who want to strike down Chicago's handgun ban think the case could extend the same right across the country.
"The court is going to decide, hopefully, that people in the United States enjoy all of their Second Amendment rights, not some diluted, some watered-down, some shadow version of the right to keep and bear arms," said Alan Gura, lead counsel against the ban.
While gun control advocate Paul Helmke is betting the court will strike down Chicago's ban, he believes the justices will back some restrictions on gun owners.
"With 30,000 people killed every year in this country with guns, 80,000 people injured every year in this country with guns, elected officials need to have some choices they can make to reduce crime and violence in their community," Helmke said.
Still, Gura's betting an America where all law-abiding citizens can legally defend themselves with guns will reduce crime.
"At the end of the day, I think we're going to have a lot more safety in America and a lot more freedom," he said.
The case, McDonald vs. City of Chicago, is named for 76-year-old Otis McDonald. He's fighting Chicago's gun law after being what he calls a defenseless victim of crime in his own home.
"I was threatened and my home broken into at least three times," he said.
He added that the only people hurt by Chicago's handgun ban are law-abiding citizens. Those who break the law go ahead and get guns anyway.