Lower court judges overwhelmingly have ruled that the right "to keep and bear arms" isn't for individuals, but instead applies to state militias, such as National Guard units. The U.S. Supreme Court repeatedly declined to hear appeals of those rulings, fueling the debate over gun control and tension between the law and public opinion. Now, in a benchmark case that arises against a backdrop of election-year politics, the high court will take its first definitive look at the Second Amendment. However the nine justices rule in the case, their decision will reshape the national debate over guns, a conflict that pits images of America's history of frontier liberty against concerns about public safety. University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson, who believes the Second Amendment provides a right to individual ownership, says the government's new position might be easier for the court to adopt. Many legal analysts predict that the court led by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts is ready to declare some individual right to own guns. Moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy could be a key vote on the issue, as he has been for the past two years on the divided court.
Do You Have a Legal Right To Own a Gun?