The case of District of Columbia v. Heller,
to be heard March 18, will be the court's first consideration of the meaning of the Second Amendment in nearly 70 years. Last year, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2 to 1 that the District's ban on private handgun possession violated the amendment.
The Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own a firearm, and if so, what restrictions government may place on that right. It is one of the most prominent cases of the court's term. More than 60 organizations and individuals have filed amicus briefs to support the city or those challenging what is acknowledged as the nation's strictest gun control law.