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The right to bear arms

As expected, District of Columbia officials on Monday moved to overturn a recent federal court ruling which found that the city’s strict gun ban violated the Constitution.

The ruling severely limits “the authority of both the District government and Congress to legislate in ways that they believe will best protect citizens and law-enforcement officers from gun violence,” city lawyers wrote in court papers.

Perhaps — although district residents suffer one of the nation’s highest crime rates despite the gun prohibition. But doesn’t any government effort to “best protect” residents and cops by banning handguns have to comport with the Second Amendment?

Apparently not, if you believe city officials.

The appeal stems from a case filed by six D.C. residents who contested the district’s Draconian prohibition on gun ownership, arguing that it prevented them from protecting themselves against criminals and violated the Bill of Rights.

In a 2-1 March decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed, finding that the Second Amendment protects an individual right of gun ownership.

The majority rejected the city’s contention that the constitutional right to bear arms applies only to state militias, not individuals.

The city’s appeal asks that all 11 judges of the D.C. appeals court rehear the case.

“We don’t blame the city for trying,” an attorney for the residents who sought to exercise their Second Amendment rights told The Associated Press. “The result is not going to change.”

We’ll see. But regardless of whether the appeal succeeds at this level, the case will almost surely move along to the U.S. Supreme Court — presenting the justices with their best opportunity in more than 75 years to affirm that the Second Amendment grants law-abiding citizens the right to own a gun.

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