June 26 (Bloomberg) -- A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protects individual gun rights, striking down the District of Columbia's handgun ban and raising election- year questions about weapons restrictions elsewhere.
The 5-4 ruling resolves a constitutional question that had lurked for two centuries: whether the Second Amendment covers people who aren't affiliated with a state-run militia.
``The enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table,'' Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority. ``These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.''
Scalia said the ruling doesn't cast doubt on concealed weapons bans or laws barring handgun possession by convicted felons and the mentally ill. Still, the decision may make gun restrictions in Chicago, New York City and other cities more vulnerable to legal challenges.