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The Second Amendment to the Constitution, which concerns the right to bear arms, is always a hot-button issue, especially during election season. Gun rights and gun control groups alike have been lobbying Congress for decades to craft legislation in their respective favors.
Twice in the past two years the gun issue has reached the nation’s highest court. In the 2008 Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller the court ruled that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to own a gun for personal use. But the 5-4 decision only applied to federal laws and failed to address local and state laws. Thus, in July 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that the federal right to bear arms also applies at the state and local level.
The ruling lifted a nearly 30-year-old Chicago gun ban. The National Rifle Association called the ruling a landmark, but the decision did not specify what kind of gun laws can be applied to the Second Amendment. “The real challenge is going to be getting law-abiding citizens access to it,” said NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre after the ruling. Both gun rights and gun control groups will likely continue to lobby Congress on this issue to either blunt or sharpen the ruling.