The U.S. Supreme Court Takes on Gun Ban, Patriot Act Provision

gun control/ABC News

Today the Supreme Court announced it would take on a controversial gun case this term and decide whether the Second Amendment prohibits strict bans on the possession of handguns in cities and states across the country. It was only in 2008 that the high court overturned a strict hand gun ban in Washington, D.C., but that ruling applied only to the federal government and its enclaves. Now the court will take on this larger issue of whether the limits on gun restrictions should also apply to the states.

Another case the court said today they would consider is Holder v. Humanitarian Law Center, which challenges a portion of the Patriot Act. At issue is the ban on "expert advice and assistance" to so-called terrorist groups. The law makes it a crime to provide such support to groups the administration believes are terrorist organizations.

The case was brought by the California-based Humanitarian Law Center, which provided human rights assistance to the Kurdistan Workers Party. Once the State Department designated the group a terrorist organization, the Humanitarian Law Project could not continue its work.

Human rights activists believe the law criminalizes the behavior of human rights groups that are trying to support nonviolent means for resolving disputes.

The Obama administration is appealing a lower court decision in the case that found that the provision was vague and could violate freedom of speech.