The Second Amendment case, McDonald v. Chicago, No. 08-1521, addresses a question that was left open last year when the court decided that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms rather than a collective right tied to state militias.
Last year's decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, concerned only federal laws and struck down parts of the gun control law in the District of Columbia, a federal enclave. The court ruled that the law violated the Second Amendment by barring law-abiding people from keeping guns in their homes for self-defense.
The new case was brought by residents of Chicago who say their city's handgun ban is identical to the one struck down in Heller.
Several Supreme Court decisions, all more than a century old, have said that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states.
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