Gun Rights Debates

October 31, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 38
Should restrictions on firearms be relaxed?
By Kenneth Jost


A George Mason University student wearing an empty gun holster. (AP Photo/Melissa Golden)
Andrew Dysart, a student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., wears an empty holster on campus last year following the shootings at Virginia Tech. The ex-Marine wants students to be able to carry concealed guns on campus for protection. (AP Photo/Melissa Golden)

The Supreme Court gave gun rights advocates a major victory on June 26, recognizing for the first time an individual right under the Second Amendment to own and possess firearms. The 5-4 decision struck down a handgun ban adopted by the District of Columbia in 1976. Gun rights advocates the very same day began challenging similar bans in Chicago and elsewhere. In his majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia said the decision did not invalidate laws establishing qualifications to buy weapons, limiting the carrying of weapons in "sensitive" places or barring possession by felons or the mentally ill. Dissenting justices argued the ruling misinterpreted the history of the Second Amendment and would lead the court into striking down many gun laws. Gun control groups hope the ruling sets the stage for more reasoned debate over gun regulations by removing the specter of confiscation of weapons. But gun owners plan to use the ruling to challenge licensing schemes and to urge state legislators to ease restrictions on carrying weapons in public.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Gun Control and the Second Amendment
Aug. 05, 2022  Gun Violence
Jul. 27, 2018  Gun Violence
Jan. 27, 2017  Guns on Campus
Mar. 08, 2013  Gun Control
Oct. 31, 2008  Gun Rights Debates Updated
May 25, 2007  Gun Violence
Nov. 12, 2004  Gun Control Debate
Dec. 19, 1997  Gun Control Standoff
Jun. 10, 1994  Gun Control
Mar. 22, 1991  Reassessing the Nation's Gun Laws
Nov. 13, 1987  Gun Control
Dec. 13, 1985  Guns in America: the Debate Continues
Jul. 19, 1972  Gun Control: Recurrent Issue
Nov. 11, 1959  Firearms Control
Crime and Law Enforcement
Gun Control
Supreme Court History and Decisions