Residents Speak Out About Gun Rights

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Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against a law in Washington D.C. that bans residents from owning handguns. A ruling on this case, which could have major impacts on gun laws across the country, has a lot of people talking.

Gun -- it's a word that evokes a lot of emotions when people hear it, whether it be in the U.S. Supreme Court or here in the Grand Valley.

"There's no reason civilians should have a gun designed to kill people," said Grand Junction resident Levi Starbird. "It dangerous and we have murder rates in this country, and that's probably why."

"Something stated in the Constitution is always a fundamental right," said Rick Wagner, a local attorney and former law enforcement officer.

But that right could be challenged. Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments over the constitutionality of a D.C. law which bans people from owning handguns. D.C. officials say the law is necessary because of heavy violence and gun crime in the city. People from places where similar problems occur say that's a point worth making.

"In Long Beach, we don't hunt, so the only thing I've seen from guns are violence and other negative things," said Ashley Wardle, a Mesa State student from California.

They say that in certain circumstances, personal safety should come before personal right.

"In general I'm not very much for a strong central government," said Wardle. "But I think in this case they definitely have a right to step in."

But people against the measure say banning handguns or other firearms won't fix those problems.

"I never prosecuted a firearm for committing a crime," said Wagner. "I've prosecuted people for committing a crime."

Pro-gun advocates also say in many cases, owning a gun can actually keep people safer.

"People should be allowed to have self-defense firearms," said Wagner. "Other than hunting, that's the purpose of a firearm."

The Supreme Court has until the end of its session in June to make a final ruling on the case.