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The NRA predictably welcomed yesterday’s ruling. According to its myth, only criminals have had guns in the city and now law-abiding citizens will be able to arm themselves for protection. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) counters that argument with the sad record of what results from a proliferation of guns. As he points out, more guns mean only more violence, and the city already has too much of both. It is important to note that the ban on handguns will stay in effect while the city considers whether to appeal.br> That passage is quite funny for many reasons, not the least of which is that it undermines its own case. Any thinking person reading it will ask the question, “If the gun ban has been so effective stemming guns and violence, why does D.C. have ‘too much of both’?”
Yet the more incisive question is what expertise does Mayor Fenty have on gun control laws? Has he studied the issue in depth? Doubtful. Rather, the Post is appealing to authority here, probably because it has no real evidence that gun bans are effective. Take a look at the second table here that shows D.C. crime rates per 100,000. In the ten years following 1976, when D.C. imposed its gun ban, neither homicides nor robberies declined. In fact, the murder rate trends upward.
There is also the 2001 issue of the Journal of Law and Economics that examined gun laws. Among the findings were that safe-storage laws had no effect on gun deaths, that bans on juvenile possession of guns did not reduce the homicide rate, and that right-to-carry concealed handgun laws reduced the rate of violent crime. The fact is that widespread gun ownership by law-abiding citizens reduces crimes. Criminals are less likely to attack law-abiding citizens if they have to worry that those citizens are armed.
It seems to me that those who genuinely believe that laws banning gun ownership will reduce crime have given very little thought to the nature of criminals. Why should we expect people who have no compunction about violating laws against murder, rape and theft would be inclined to obey a law against owning a handgun? Of course, posing that question to the political left will do little good. They’ll just respond with hysteria.p> em> strong>David Hogberg is a senior analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research . He also hosts his own website,
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