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
Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act." This bill would remove ATF's authority to use the ...

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

The Supreme Court of North Dakota confirmed this week that simply possessing a handgun while on one’s own private property cannot support a finding of "disorderly conduct" under the state’s disorderly conduct restraining order law. ...

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

Information collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) indicates an unprecedented surge in the number of concealed carry permits, with the largest one-year increase on record occurring between May 2016 and May 2017.

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

This week, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) reintroduced the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, a bill aimed at permanently dismantling Operation Choke Point (OCP).  

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

News  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for signing into law NRA-backed legislation that will make license to carry fees in Texas among the lowest in the ...

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

New Zealand Police Mislead Current and Prospective Gun Owners

News  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Zealand Police Mislead Current and Prospective Gun Owners

Back in April, NRA-ILA alerted readers to the results of the New Zealand Parliament Law and Order Committee’s “Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand,” which proposed that a ...

Public Health Researchers Use Common Gun Control Tactic to Mislead on “Children” and Guns

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Public Health Researchers Use Common Gun Control Tactic to Mislead on “Children” and Guns

It is one of the most well-worn tactics of those who advocate for gun control. Step one, acquire statistics on firearms injuries among children ages 0-14. Step two, combine these relatively low numbers with the ...

Texas: Governor Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Texas: Governor Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

On Friday morning, Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed into law Senate Bill 16, NRA-backed legislation that brings Texas' License To Carry application fees down to among the lowest in the country.  Sponsored by State Sen. Robert Nichols ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.