Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

The Case For Reforming The District of Columbia`s Gun Laws

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

H.R. 1399/S. 1001, the “District of Columbia Personal Protection Act,” introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and in the Senate by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), would end D.C.’s prohibition on using guns for self-defense in one’s home and conform other D.C. gun laws to federal laws, while retaining stiff penalties for illegal gun possession and gun crimes. It would do none of the things claimed by anti-gun groups.

The legislation is long overdue. In 1976, D.C.’s City Council thumbed its nose at Congress, the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws,” and the rest of the U.S., and began conducting a social experiment of its own design against the city’s law-abiding residents. The experiment, unlike anything known elsewhere in America, took the form of the Firearms Control Regulations Act, which required that firearms kept at home be rendered useless for protection by being “unloaded, disassembled, or bound by a trigger lock or similar device.” It required that all privately owned firearms be registered, and prohibited possession of a handgun not registered with city police prior to Sept. 24, 1976, and re-registered by Feb. 5, 1977.

The results have been catastrophic. Since D.C. imposed its 1976 laws, it has earned the unfortunate distinction, “murder capital of the United States.” D.C.’s murder rate had been declining before 1976, but it increased thereafter. Between 1976-1991, it rose 200%, while the U.S. murder rate rose only 9%. (FBI, D.C. Police)

  • The District’s prohibition on possession of firearms for defense at home conflicts with Congress’ stated purpose in passing the Gun Control Act (1968). Section 101 of that law states “[I]t is not the purpose of this title to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to the purpose of hunting, trapshooting, target shooting, personal protection, or any other lawful activity, and that this title is not intended to discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. . .” (Emphasis added.)
  • D.C. is the only jurisdiction in the U.S. that prohibits keeping firearms in an operable condition at home, for defense against criminal attack. The right to be secure in one’s home is an ages-old right affirmed in law and court decisions, but curtailed in D.C.
  • The District should not criminalize self-defense when it cannot defend people. As legal scholars Robert J. Cottrol and Raymond T. Diamond have written, “[A] society with a dismal record of protecting a people has a dubious claim on the right to disarm them. . . . [I]t is unwise to place the means of protection totally in the hands of the state. . . .” (“The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration,” Gun Control and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Second Amendment, ed., Robert J. Cottrol, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Law, 1994, p. 427.)
  • The District should not criminalize self-defense when it is not legally obligated to defend people. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has ruled that the city’s police department is “not generally liable to victims of violent criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection. . . .” (Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1, 1981)
  • D.C.’s gun law forces law-abiding people to choose between protecting their lives and obeying the law. Former U.S. Senator Warren Rudman, after retiring from office, said: “Honest people don’t have guns and criminals do. I think people have a right to protect themselves. I was outraged to learn that I couldn’t legally have a gun in Washington. Despite the law, I kept one in my office and one in my apartment, because there were plenty of armed criminals roaming the streets of Washington.” (Combat: Twelve Years in the U.S. Senate, 1996, p.40)
  • Allowing citizens to defend themselves at home deters criminals. A study for the U.S. Department of Justice found that 40% of felons have decided to not commit one or more crimes for fear their potential victims were armed. (James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, 1986, p. 155.)
  • The District’s prohibition against using firearms for defense against violent criminal attack increases the likelihood that crime victims will be injured by their assailants. National Crime Victimization Surveys show: “Robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all.” (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns, 1997, p. 171).
  • On July 11, 2006 D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey declared a “crime emergency” in the District. The move, in reaction to a recent surge in homicides, allowed him to quickly adjust officers’ schedules and limit their days off. Ramsey has declared four “crime emergencies” since taking office in 1998.
TRENDING NOW
Oregon: Initiative Filed to Restrict Self-Defense

Friday, July 19, 2019

Oregon: Initiative Filed to Restrict Self-Defense

On July 18th, Initiative Petition 40​ was filed in Oregon to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law abiding adults by imposing a broad, one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms.  This egregious attack on our freedoms uses virtually ...

“Fact Checker:” Joe Biden’s “Gun Ban” Not a Gun Ban Because Some Guns Wouldn’t Be Banned

News  

Monday, July 15, 2019

“Fact Checker:” Joe Biden’s “Gun Ban” Not a Gun Ban Because Some Guns Wouldn’t Be Banned

Facebook has teamed up with what it calls “third-party fact-checkers” to punish users of its platform that post information embarrassing or inconvenient to the political outlook of its principals. Yet like most sources of what ...

Hollywood Fantasy v. Reality on Firearm Suppressors

News  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Hollywood Fantasy v. Reality on Firearm Suppressors

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a very loose relationship with reality.  The movie industry, after all, is based on fantasy and escapism, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  If someone wants to forget ...

Presidential Pretender Who Campaigned on Gun Control First to Call It Quits

News  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Presidential Pretender Who Campaigned on Gun Control First to Call It Quits

On Monday, Eric Swalwell became the first of the many pretenders for the Democrat presidential nomination to bow (or perhaps slink) out of the race. The U.S. Congressman from California’s 15th District had tried to distinguish himself from ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Statement On Virginia Special Session

News  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

NRA Statement On Virginia Special Session

FAIRFAX, Va.–   The interim executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Jason Ouimet, released the following statement today regarding the special session in Virginia:  "The National Rifle Association has a long ...

HR 218/Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA)

Gun Laws  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

HR 218/Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA)

LEOSA, as Amended by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (Jan 2, 2013) (Changes have been italicized.) § 926B.

California: City of San Diego Considers Gun Control Ordinance

Friday, July 12, 2019

California: City of San Diego Considers Gun Control Ordinance

San Diego City Attorney, Mara Elliott has asked the City Council to consider a draft ordinance that would require mandatory locked storage of firearms in the home and would propose a conflicting law regarding the reporting of ...

Recent Poll Shows Gun Control Not as Popular as Some Would Like to Believe

News  

Monday, July 8, 2019

Recent Poll Shows Gun Control Not as Popular as Some Would Like to Believe

A recent Morning Consult/POLITICO poll, conducted immediately prior to the recent  Democratic debates and gathering responses from 1,991 registered voters, asked about views toward the candidates, issues of potential importance in the election, voting intention, and ...

California: Injunction Request to be Filed in Lawsuit Challenging California Ammo Law

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

California: Injunction Request to be Filed in Lawsuit Challenging California Ammo Law

CRPA, with the support of NRA, challenged the ammunition background check law in court months ago with the filing of the Rhode v. Becerra case. The lead plaintiff in the case is Olympic gold medalist shooter ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.