In a landmark legal victory for opponents of gun control, a federal appeals court Friday struck down a District of Columbia ban on keeping handguns in homes as a violation of the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms.
In its 2-to-1 decision, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the amendment's guarantee belongs to individuals and was not a collective right limited to members of militias -- something gun-control proponents long have contended.
"The amendment does not protect the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms, but rather the right of the people," the majority opinion said. "If the competent drafters of the Second Amendment had meant the right to be limited to the protection of state militias, it is hard to imagine that they would have chosen the language they did."
Friday's decision marks the first time a federal appeals court has struck down a gun law on Second Amendment grounds, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence.
The gun-control group blasted the ruling as "judicial activism at its worst."
Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty vowed the city will "do everything within our power to work to get this decision overturned."
"I am personally deeply disappointed and, quite frankly, outraged by today's decision," said Fenty, who said the city would first ask the full circuit court to reconsider the case before deciding whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.