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By Wayne LaPierre

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm for any lawful purpose. Period.

The Founding Fathers meant it, 4 million NRA members defend it, and the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed it.

For three decades, lawful residents of the District of Columbia had no right to possess a handgun in their own homes. Today, they do. That's a good thing, because good people should be able to protect themselves, especially at home.

The court firmly, and rightly, upheld that basic right to self-defense and declared the gun ban unconstitutional. This historic decision cements the individual right to bear arms as a cornerstone of American constitutional law.

"We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans," the court ruled.

This case was, simply, about the basic human right to a firearm for personal protection. The right to bear arms — an individual right — just like the basic human rights to free speech, to worship and to vote.

Basic, human freedom for all law-abiding Americans. That's worth fighting for — and we're not done, yet.

This monumental decision is just the opening salvo. The court declared the individual right to own a firearm, but not every American can exercise that right. While Washington, D.C., residents can now possess a handgun, lawful residents of San Francisco and Chicago cannot.

Would we stand idly by if Washington residents could vote, but not those of Chicago? Or if Georgians could freely practice their faiths, while Californians had no freedom to worship? There would be outrage — and there is, from 80 million gun owners and every American who values freedom.

The NRA is filing lawsuits against cities in which gun ownership is banned, to restore individual freedom for the lawful Americans who live there. Because freedom for some Americans, and not for all, isn't freedom — it's discrimination. And it's wrong.

The freedom to bear arms belongs, individually, to every law-abiding American. It always has, and the NRA will keep fighting to preserve that fundamental right.

Wayne LaPierre is executive vice president of the National Rifle Association of America.

"We The People"
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