SUPREME COURT -- Residents in the District of Columbia can own handguns.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have an individual right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, ending the District's 32-year-old ban on handguns.
The court's 5-4 decision is the first major ruling on gun rights in U.S. history. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most gun control laws intact.
Justice Antonin Scalia writes in the majority opinion that the Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home."
He does say the ruling would not affect laws that ban felons and the mentally ill from owning guns or prohibit people from carrying guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings.
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