[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/06/26/scotus.guns/art.court.afp.gi.jpg caption=" A gun ownership supporter holds a placard in March outside the Supreme Court in Washington."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a sweeping handgun ban in the nation's capital, saying it violates Americans' constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."
Thursday's sharply divided 5-4 ruling gives constitutional validation to citizens seeking the right to possess one of the most common types of firearms in their homes. The gun control issue has been politically divisive for years, and the monumental decision is expected to have broad social and legal implications, especially in an election year.
Watch: What does the ruling mean?
The majority of justices disagreed with arguments that the Washington, D.C. government has broad authority to enact what local officials called "reasonable" weapons restrictions in order to reduce violent crime.