We have the right to own a gun — but what values should shape our choices?


I
n a major new decision, the
US Supreme Court has overturned the ban on handguns in the nation’s
capital. The high court said that the Washington, D.C., handgun
ban violated the Second Amendment to the US Constitution: “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.”
    This
historic decision interprets the Second Amendment to mean that individuals
have the right to own and bear arms, including handguns, for self defense
and hobbies like hunting.
    Gun-rights
advocates heralded the decision as a major victory and plan to file
similar law suits in other metropolitan areas. Gun control activists,
big-city mayors and law enforcement agencies worry about a surge in
handgun related violence.
    The
Second Amendment is part of the nation’s constitutional bedrock. It is one of the ten amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, ratified more than two centuries ago. Until now, the Supreme Court had not voiced
an opinion about the Second Amendment for almost 70 years.

    Beyond the legal principles, though, there are powerful values involved.
    Lots of questions arise about values concerning autonomy, self-determination, individualism,
limited governmental interference, protection of life and liberty, property
rights — and others.
    Tell us what you think.
    Where
do you come out on gun rights and gun control?
    Is the right for
an individual to keep and bear handguns an American value? How do we
balance the right to defend oneself and one’s home against the risks of handgun-related
accidents, suicides and especially domestic violence?

   Please add your Comment to the discussion, or
take our Quick Poll and, please, consider signing up for our more
in-depth survey by adding your email to the box in the left corner of
our Web site. (You can click there to learn more about the
survey.)

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