AUSTIN, Texas — In a brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court, the top legal officers in Texas and 32 other states said state and local handgun bans violate Second Amendment protections allowing individuals to keep and bear arms.
The brief, submitted by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on behalf of his counterparts in the other states, asks the court to hear a legal challenge against a handgun ban in Chicago.
The court struck down a similar ban in the District of Columbia in June 2008, ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individuals rights to keep and bear arms. But the attorneys general want the court to affirm that the protections extend nationwide and not just to residents in the District of Columbia, a federal enclave.
"If the Second Amendment applies exclusively to the federal government, many Americans may find their constitutional right to arms severely compromised or entirely abrogated by local regulations," the brief said.
The case could ignite another national debate on gun rights if the court agrees to hear it after returning in October from a summer recess. The justices are being asked to resolve conflicting opinions among several appeals courts over whether their landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller applies just to the federal government or state and local governments.
"Without this courts review, millions of Americans may be deprived of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as a result of actions by local governments, such as the ordinances challenged in this case," the brief said.
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