“A federal appeals court yesterday struck down the District's 30-year-old gun ban, ruling that the right to bear arms as guaranteed in the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not only to militias.
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said he was "outraged" by the court's decision, which overturns a law that "has been unquestioned for more than 30 years."
"Today's decision flies in the face of laws that have helped decrease gun violence in the District of Columbia," he said. "The ruling also turns aside longstanding precedents and marks the first time in the history of the United States that a federal appeals court has struck down a gun law on Second Amendment grounds.” “
A federal court lifted Washington DC’s gun control laws, among the most restrictive in the nation, on the grounds that the Second Amendment applies to individuals. The mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty—a well liked, perceptive, and coherent leader—berated the decision and vowed to appeal. Now this may look like an unfortunate loss for the safety of our urban communities, however, I present to you a twist.
There is some consensus now (at least among the federal appeals court) that these laws are extra-judicial and encroach on the rights enumerated to you and I by the Constitution. Both sides presented legal arguments. However, what about the effectiveness of these laws? Its one thing to have a program work to provide for the security of its denizens and argue its legal merit, its totally another to have a program that has been proven ineffective to be upheld for such a long time (especially in light of the additional judicial concerns).
The DC gun ban was wholly ineffective in preventing firearm violence in Washington DC. In fact with one of the most restrictive programs in the nation, Washington DC is still among the most dangerous cities in the nation—worse yet it actually was the murder capital of the US on multiple occasions in the past 30 years, including 1991 when it saw more than 480 homicides. Communities with much more lax gun control laws exhibited far higher levels of safety and a far lower rate of firearm crime. Now, granted, this debate is very heated, and people often point out extremes in arguments—the Switzerland example comes to mind, in which the nation of Switzerland maintains among the most liberal gun policies in the world and endures some of the least gun crime in the world, but I want to present one of many possible arguments on the dynamic of gun-control.
Many believed that by restricting gun sales to law-abiding citizens, that there would subsequently be less guns on the street and hopefully less gun crime. This line of reasoning was proven wrong through years of empirical data. Indeed, even intuitively, it makes sense why strict gun control doesn’t work. To ban law-abiding citizens to get guns assumes that they commit most of the gun crime. On the contrary, citizens fitting that description commit a disproportionately smaller number of gun crimes. In addition the policy is based on the assumption that the guns would conceivably disappear from communities, but yet again, a misguided assumption rears its ugly head. The demand for guns has changed little, and in some urban locales, it has increased precipitously.
Gun control laws of the sort that Washington DC codified more than 30 years ago, deprive private citizens of any personal security. Evildoers can safely bet that their targets are unarmed, and thus continue to ravage the very urban communities that the law aimed to protect. In addition, the rise of the underground gun market is startling in Washington DC, and highlights one negative byproduct of a gun control law that admittedly was well intentioned, but sadly, ill thought.
The most prudent way to strike at gun-crime would be to facilitate information-swapping with differing jurisdictions, ensuring security in the gun purchasing system, implementing zero tolerance policies toward illegal gun possession, and finally attacking the demand side of the gun market while continuing to identify and eliminate the suppliers in the underground market………