NRA Explore
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
Not The Victim Hillary Needs

News  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Not The Victim Hillary Needs

This feature appears in the October ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. “Why can’t everyone just have their DNA on file? Then it would ...

California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Monday, September 26, 2016

California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Today, Governor Brown made his decision on the final firearm-related bills of the 2016 legislative session that made it to his desk.   Governor Brown vetoed two anti-gun bills, AB 450 and SB 1332, and signed ...

California: Referendum Update

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

California: Referendum Update

On behalf of the National Rifle Association (NRA), we would like to thank all of the volunteers and individuals who participated in the Veto Gunmageddon ballot referendum qualification effort.  Despite the tremendous efforts of all involved, ...

Hillary: Contempt For The Truth And American Freedom

News  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hillary: Contempt For The Truth And American Freedom

There is no greater danger to American liberty and to the security of our nation than a Hillary Clinton administration. To see the future if Clinton were to take the White House, look no further ...

Trump: The Official NRA Q&A

News  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trump: The Official NRA Q&A

This year’s race for the White House is like no other in our history. Hillary Clinton has made it clear that, if elected, she will come after our firearm freedoms on her very first day ...

Trump Vows To Protect The Second Amendment

News  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trump Vows To Protect The Second Amendment

Never before has there been such a stark contrast between presidential candidates over the future of the Second Amendment. With Donald Trump, the nation’s firearm owners have a true champion who has repeatedly pledged to ...

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.

News  

Friday, July 1, 2016

California Governor Signs Draconian Gun Control Package into Law

Fairfax, Va.— California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a package of gun bills that were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. The National Rifle Association Institute for ...

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, was in New York City recently on an official visit. Commenting on the bombs that exploded while he was in town, he opined that such attacks are now simply ...

Pennsylvania: Legislature Leaves Firearms Preemption Legislation in Limbo

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pennsylvania: Legislature Leaves Firearms Preemption Legislation in Limbo

Yesterday, both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly chose to delay votes on the two critical preemption bills that are pending in the legislature. Legislators are now on recess until Monday, October 17.With only six ...

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.