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Dale Metta, who manages a gun shop just outside the District of Columbia limits in Maryland, has had to turn away dozens of city residents wanting to buy handguns in recent days. Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court just struck down Washington's 32-year-old ban on possessing handguns.

"I'd like to sell anything I have," said Metta. But he won't just yet — not until the city draws up new regulations.

The Supreme Court's decision June 26 rebuffed the strictest gun law in the nation.

The National Rifle Association called it "a great moment in American history." But prospective gun buyers and sellers said they remain on hold, awaiting the response of D.C. officials who are scrambling to draft new handgun regulations that comply with the court ruling.

"There's nothing we can do until we know what they will do," Metta said.

Metta, manager of Atlantic Guns in Silver Spring, Md., said his store fielded about 75 calls from D.C. residents after the ruling. Other gun shops outside the city — which has no shops of its own — also received calls. They, too, were turning prospective buyers away.

Writing for a 5-4 majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said: "We hold that the District's ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."

Washington's gun ban took effect in 1976 and essentially outlawed private ownership of handguns in a city struggling with violence.


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