Report: Elimination of DC Handgun Ban Had No Effect on Homicides

“More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” Former Democrat DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty following the Heller decision.

A report is out demonstrating that following the famous District of Columbia v. Heller case, which ruled the DC’s handgun ban was unconstitutional, had virtually no effect on homicides, including gun homicides.

Ethan Barton at The Daily Caller News Foundation analyzed data that was compiled by The Washington Post from 2000 to 2016 and discovered that from 2000 to 2007, 80 percent of all DC homicide victims were killed with a gun.  Following the Heller ruling in 2008, that figure dropped to 74 percent., despite the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting by Aaron Alexis that left 12 people dead.  While that is a significant drop in percentage points, the reality is those gun homicides, and homicides, in general, were declining.

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(Graphic: DCNF/Ethan Barton)
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Barton writes, “TheDCNF only analyzed homicide data. Those crimes decreased significantly in D.C. after 2008, with 45 fewer in 2009. Gun homicides alone dropped nearly 22 percent – almost identical to the decline in all homicides.”

“I expect murders to fall,” Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott told TheDCNF. “How they fall is a different question. The people who generally obeyed the ban were law-abiding citizens and not the criminals.”

Lott also pointed out that drug gangs are the frequent shooters in DC and obtain their guns whether there is a ban in place or not.

The ruling by the Supreme Court overturned a 1975 law for DC that made it extremely difficult to obtain a handgun and then on top of that burdened gun owners with strict regulations on how firearms were to be stored in their homes.  Talk about not understanding “shall not be infringed.”

As I quoted above, former Democrat DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said, “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” following the Heller decision.

Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy And Research Daniel Webster told the DCNF, “Trends for homicides committed with firearms are rarely in sync with trends for homicides committed by other means.”

“What happened, ultimately, with the Heller decision was that it moved D.C. from a ban to a highly regulated environment,” he continued, pointing to the fact that DC simply applied more gun control laws in place of what Heller took from them. “Standards for who can legally purchase and possess firearms in their homes are higher in D.C. than in any state.”

As I’ve written about before the US is first in the world in gun ownership, but not even listed in the top 100 countries for murder rates.  If places like DC, Chicago and New York would simply stop regulating arms, something that have not been given authority to do, they might actually be safer places rather than crime-ridden cesspools.

Webster argued that the ban “most certainly reduced the number of guns available to criminals through theft.  Those conditions are relevant for public safety beyond the day that the Supreme Court strikes down the ban.”

But what about the deaths caused by the criminals with guns during that period?  I’m not necessarily buying that argument because that implies that the criminals of DC are only targeting DC residents and not obtaining weapons from outside of DC.

“The big thing that Heller had was not the handgun ban being overturned,” John Lott said. “Heller legalized people being able to use guns in self-defense.”

I beg to differ.  Heller recognized the right that had been infringed upon by a tyrannical government.  However, Lott made an excellent point that citizens having access to guns in their homes have probably been a great deterrent to violent crime.

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