Effectiveness Of D.C. Handgun Ban Difficult To Assess


Three decades ago, when Washington, D.C., enacted a ban on handgun ownership that opponents have long said violates the Second Amendment, no on can say whether the law made city streets safer, says the Washington Post. Over the years, gun violence has continued to plague the city, reaching staggering levels at times. Opponents of the ban, who won a March ruling in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declared the law unconstitutional, contend in a legal filing that the District’s “31-year experiment with gun prohibition” has been a “complete failure.” D.C. officials, who have asked the Supreme Court to reverse the March decision, say the ban is a legally permissible measure that has saved lives. The high court did not say today if it would review the case; the court is not meeting again until Nov 26.

“One of the difficult things is, you can’t measure what didn’t happen,” said D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer. “You can’t measure how many guns didn’t come in [] because we have this law. You can’t measure all the crimes that we know were prevented from happening.” In the peak killing year, 1991, Washington recorded 482 homicides. Last year, out of 169 homicides, 81 percent were shootings.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/12/AR2007111201818.html?hpid=topnews

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