Do you think the Second Amendment gives the individual a right to own a gun?

News Observer

The U.S. Supreme Court is on the brink of issuing what could be its most important ruling ever on the controversial Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Gun rights and gun control advocates alike are anxiously awaiting the high court’s ruling, the first time since 1939 that the nation’s top justices have tackled the Second Amendment. A decision could come this week.

“I feel the founding fathers gave us this right,” said Henry Williams, 54, a Raleigh resident who attended the Capital City Gun Show at the N.C. State Fairgrounds on Sunday. “I don’t see that anybody has the right to take it away from us.”

But Roxane Kolar, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, argues that gun rights advocates have misconstrued the Second Amendment. Moreover, she contends, “Most people believe in gun safety and sensible gun legislation.”

At issue in the Supreme Court case is Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns.

That ban was challenged by a D.C. special police officer who is entitled to carry a gun while working as a guard at the Federal Judicial Center but was denied a permit to keep a firearm in his home. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled the ban violates the Second Amendment; the district appealed that ruling, and the case was argued before the Supreme Court in March.

The Second Amendment, which was ratified in 1791, states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

That wording is ambiguous enough for both sides of the gun control issue to find comfort. The gun lobby says it grants individuals the right to bear arms. Gun control organizations contend the right to bear arms is restricted to serving in a government-sanctioned militia.