Part 8 DC Gun Ban Is A Deadly Failure

by
Larry Pratt

The official website of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington DC says, among other things, that the MPD "protects District residents from crime, fear of crime, and general disorder and establishes trust and respect within the community." Why turn to the Comedy Channel when you can get lines like this for free?

How bad is crime in our Nation's capital? It's so bad that even the far-left Washington Post has repeatedly complained about it. In a recent editorial (1/11/03), the Post says: "The District of Columbia closed out 2002 with a record of violence that should have city leaders and residents worried sick... the District racked up 262 killings last year, the highest death toll in five years."

In another editorial (1/25/03), the Post says the Mayor of Washington DC, its Police Chief and other DC leaders "are badly misreading the mood of the city if they think there isn't general anxiety about the level of crime in the District... last year's 12 percent increase in homicides and the current pace of murders, which is nearly on par with last year's, are sufficient reason for rising public concern."

And in his column in the Post (3/01/03) -- titled "What About The War At Home?" -- Colbert I. King, writing about the "terror" being experienced by residents of Washington DC, says: "Homicides are up again this year. Broad-daylight and nighttime horrors -- callous shootings, murderers are running free -- occur with such frequency and so often without consequence that some people are no longer inclined to come forward."

So, what does the Post say is the cause of this rampant violent crime problem? Well, we're told, editorially (1/11/03), that: "Experts are still trying to sort out the reasons." But, "clearly the prevalence of handguns -- and people willing to use them -- has a great deal to do with it."

Hmmmmm. Interesting. Because, in so many words, the ultra-liberal Washington Post is now admitting, in effect, that what's being proved, with a vengeance, in Washington DC, is -- that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!

But, of course, the Post doesn't get it. In an editorial (8/5/02), the Post says: "We believe in strong gun laws." Well, the District of Columbia, for more than 25 years, has had "strong gun laws" which make it, de facto, impossible for any of the good guys to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The result? Re-read the previously mentioned excerpts from Post editorials and that King column.

The plain, obvious truth is that the Washington DC anti-self defense laws have been a dangerous flop as far as curbing crimes committed by people with guns. And -- God bless him -- at least one DC cop was honest enough years ago to admit this. An editorial in the Washington Times (3/27/96) quotes Lt. Lowell Duckett, president of the Black Police Caucus and a special assistant to Washington DC's Chief of Police, as telling a group of citizens they were right to arm themselves:

"Gun control has not worked in DC. The only people who have guns are criminals. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder rates. It's quicker to pull your Smith and Wesson than to dial 911 if you're being robbed."

Even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) -- unwittingly, to be sure -- has admitted that gun-control in Washington DC has failed. On an "Operation Ceasefire" web page, the ATF says, in part: "The District of Columbia has the strictest set of local firearms laws in the country.... And yet, even by the most conservative estimates, thousands of illegal firearms continue to be present in the District every day, and firearms-related violence exacts a terrible and continuing toll on the lives of the people who live and work in the city."

According to data posted on the website of the Hamilton Fish Institute, in 1997, in the District of Columbia, even 10.6 percent of high school students carried a gun somewhere in Washington DC during the previous 30 days.

But, there's some good news about gun control in the District of Columbia and I'll be reporting on it in my next few columns. Despite the fact that the gun-grabbers have thus far succeeded in disarming private citizens in Washington DC, some of these citizens are fighting back and asserting their Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms. I'll tell you about several DC residents who have gone to court to challenge the city's gun-ban. And I'll introduce you to one courageous lady on the DC Taxicab Commission who is working hard to make it legal for cabbies to be armed for self-defense.

In addition, in my next few columns, I'll be naming names and exposing the arguments of those in Washington DC, and their allies, who want to continue the DC gun-ban even though this subjects citizens to murder and a variety of other violent crimes.

There may be hope, even in Washington.