"Congress has continued to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition, with strong advocates arguing for and against greater gun control. Speaking to these questions either in whole or part, on June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court issued its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, finding that the District of Columbia (DC) handgun ban violated an individual's right under the Second Amendment to lawfully possess a firearm in his home for self-defense. On June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court issued a related decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago, finding that the individual right also applied to the states. This report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th Congress and selected legislative action in the 110th Congress that involved issues revisited in the 111th Congress. The report concludes with a discussion of other salient issues that have generated significant congressional interest in the past. Of the issues considered by the 111th Congress, perhaps the most significant involved amendments to District of Columbia (DC) voting rights bills that would have further overturned DC gun laws. While the Senate passed such amendments (S. 160), the House leadership tabled a DC voting rights bill (H.R. 157) rather than give pro-gun Members an opportunity to pass similar amendments. Pro-gun Members, however, passed several other gun-related provisions that were included in enacted legislation."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32842