Will Supreme Court ruling end gun debate?

If you're a hunter who uses a firearm, or anyone who owns any guns, you're about to learn just how far government can go to restrict or ban that practice.

Following an appeal filed in Washington D. C. by a security officer, Dick Heller, whose application for a permit to keep a handgun in his home was denied, a district judge ruled against Heller, but an appeals court then overturned the decision, opening the door for what will be a landmark case and decision by the Supreme Court, purportedly due to be heard sometime in March.

The District has some of the nation's most restrictive firearms laws, banning private handgun ownership and requiring that all rifles and shotguns kept in private homes be unloaded and disassembled or outfitted with a trigger lock. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declared it unconstitutional last year, becoming the first appeals court to overturn a gun-control law because of the Second Amendment.

On Nov. 20, 2007, the Supreme Court announced that it will determine whether the District of Columbia's strict firearms laws violate the Constitution, a decision that should raise the issue of gun control versus Second Amendment rights to its ultimate level, and, coincidentally, just in time for the 2008 election bids. The highest court's examination of the meaning of the Second Amendment will be the first time in nearly 70 years, and it carries major implications for gun-control measures locally across the nation. The high court's last examination of the amendment was in 1939, when it ruled in U.S. v. Miller that a sawed-off shotgun transported across state lines by a bootlegger was not what the amendment was intended to protect.

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