WASHINGTON - The nation's state attorneys general are reportedly divided over a city gun ban case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 18.
Stateline.org reported Friday that attorneys general from 31 states have filed a legal brief urging the justices to overturn Washington, D.C.'s 32-year-old ban on handguns.
Meanwhile, attorneys general from five states -- Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York -- are asking the high court to leave the ban in place, arguing that regulating firearms for the sake of public safety is constitutional.
The nation's capital since 1976 banned residents from carrying handguns. Residents may, however, keep a rifle or hunting gun in their homes, as long as is its locked and not loaded.
The case before the court was brought by Washington resident Dick Anthony Heller. He wants to be able to bring his work-issued handgun home with him to protect himself.
Legal observers say a ruling against the city's gun ban could jeopardize state statutes against assault rifles.
"The states that have a great deal at stake are coming into this case not because they are in favor of handgun bans, but because they are concerned about the ultimate implications," said Dennis Henigan, legal director of the Brady Campaign.
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