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Supreme Court Extends Gun Rights Nationwide

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Supreme Court Extends Gun Rights Nationwide

Law

Supreme Court Extends Gun Rights Nationwide

Supreme Court Extends Gun Rights Nationwide

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The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the right to bear arms applies to cities and states. The ruling casts doubt on Chicago's 30-year hand gun ban and is a victory for guns rights advocates.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

We'll have reaction from Chicago in a moment. But first we hear from NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

NINA TOTENBERG: Paul Helmke is president of the Brady Center to control gun violence.

PAUL HELMKE: The main thing that's going to happen from this decision is there's going to be tons of litigation. Yes, there's going to be challenges, and yes, there's going to be a lot of court fights, and yes, some judges may rule the other way. But I think ultimately the court has made the Second Amendment very narrow and by repeating the Scalia reasonable restrictions language I think they've reinforced the fact that they don't want this to go too far.

TOTENBERG: Paul Clement, who represented the National Rifle Association in the Supreme Court, says there may also be a legislative push to roll back existing gun restrictions at the state and local level.

PAUL CLEMENT: Some of the action here is not just going to be in the courts but is also going to be in the legislatures and in city council meetings, where people are going to have to take this decision into account.

TOTENBERG: Prince George's County, Maryland States Attorney Glenn Ivey, chairman of the board of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, says yesterday's ruling makes clear that flat-out handgun bans won't wash anymore.

GLENN IVEY: Will that apply to cars? Will that apply to yards? Will people be allowed to carry them on their person under this interpretation of the Second Amendment? How far will this go before it runs into the point where reasonable regulation is going to be permitted?

TOTENBERG: Herb Titus, counsel for the Gun Owners of America says he expects challenges as well to registration and licensing requirements.

HERB TITUS: You can't license book sellers. You can't single them out. You can't single out magazine publishers. Why should you be able to single out firearms dealers?

TOTENBERG: New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly worries about the arms race between cops and criminals and the influx of weapons from states that have few if any restrictions on gun sales.

RAY KELLY: There's no question about it, we have a gun problem in this country. We certainly have it in major cities. We are very much concerned about it. But quite frankly, most of the guns that we encounter come from out of state. Anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of the guns that we confiscate are purchased out of state and brought into New York City.

TOTENBERG: Scott Knight, a Minnesota police chief who is chairman of the Firearms Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, says another police worry is allowing people to carry concealed weapons.

SCOTT KNIGHT: That's concerning to my peers because of the obvious danger that that presents to our officers who are interacting with people daily over quite benign things and then trying to figure out whether or not that person is armed while they're doing these kinds of things can be quite worrisome.

TOTENBERG: Herb Titus of the Gun Owners of America sees things differently. The first priority of his group right now, he says, is to invalidate a federal law that bans the sale of guns to anyone convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.

TITUS: I believe that the prohibition against people who've been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence will probably be the area of litigation down the road.

TOTENBERG: Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.

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