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Americans have a deeply ambivalent relationship to guns. The United States leads all nations in rates of private gun ownership, yet stories of gun tragedies frequent the news, spurring calls for tighter gun regulations.
On the final day of its 2008 term, a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-to-4 decision striking down the District of Columbia's stringent gun control laws as a violation of the Second Amendment. Reversing almost seventy years of settled precedent, the high court reinterpreted the meaning of the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" to affirm an individual right to own a gun in the home for purposes of self-defense.