Court Rulings on Firearms - Second Amendment Interpretations, Federal Court Cases, State Laws, Local Rulings, Responsibility For Handgun Deaths
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The U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions guarantee the right to bear arms, but the courts have ruled that this right may be strictly controlled. Many laws and regulations have been enacted at the local, state, and federal levels to regulate firearms. When these laws have been challenged, state and federal courts have consistently upheld the right of governments to require the registration of firearms, to determine how these weapons may be carried, and even to forbid the sale or use of some weapons under certain circumstances. Courts have also been asked to decide if manufacturers, dealers, or, sometimes, even relatives of the gun carrier should be held responsible when guns are used to commit crimes.
Denial of gun ownership to convicted felons, mentally incompetent persons, and the insane is generally accepted. But restrictions like these have also been challenged in court. The following selection of court cases includes landmark decisions and more recent rulings on gun rights and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels.