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Joy, disappointment greet gun ban reversal

WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Jubilation and disappointment characterized reaction Thursday to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Washington's stringent gun laws.

"For this first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers," Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said in a statement.

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Libertarian candidate Bob Barr also praised the decision, saying in a statement the decision "will go down as one of the Supreme Court's most important rulings on behalf of liberty."

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, a Democrat, expressed disappointment with the decision, The Washington Post reported.

"More handguns will lead to more handgun violence," Fenty said at a news conference.

The District of Columbia now must come up with new regulations for the process of registering handguns, which the high court said can be kept in homes for self-defense.

Likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, noting he believed the Second Amendment protects individuals' right to bear arms, said the majority opinion "acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe."

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The ruling "will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country," the Illinois senator said on his Web site.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which favors tighter gun control, said the ruling does have a silver lining.

While the majority opinion said handguns can't be banned, it allows governments to impose restrictions on ownership, Helmke told the Post.

The National Rifle Association said the decision "vindicates individual Americans ... who have always known that this is their freedom worth protecting."

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