Record Low Murder Rate in Washington DC After Gun Ban Lifted

December 13th, 2012

Recently, sports commentator Bob Costas sparked a national debate after blaming Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide on the existence of firearms rather than Belcher himself. The 6’2″ and 238 pound Belcher murdered his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, with a gun before turning it on himself. Many gun rights activists felt this was in poor taste, as grieving families deserve the respect of not having their personal tragedy turned into a political football while funerals are still being planned.

Meanwhile, the Washington Examiner is reporting that homicides in Washington DC have dropped to their lowest level since 1963. This is significant for handgun enthusiasts, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gun rights in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, thus striking down a handgun ban in the nation’s capital. Since the ban was lifted, Washington DC’s murder rate has dropped like a stone, reaching historic lows.

The 2nd Amendment Makes Washington DC Safer

When only criminals and police are allowed to carry guns, private citizens have no real-time defense against violent crime. 911 response times are never fast enough to stop a shooting in progress. In the ’80s and ’90s, Washington DC attained infamy for its vicious murder rate. In the past, as many as 500 people might be murdered there in a single year. By the end of 2012, less than 100 murders will have occurred, representing a dramatic drop.

These murder rates are not just conversation pieces. For 400 less murders to occur means that 400 citizens of Washington DC are still alive to enjoy years on Earth with friends and family. It’s easy for people who have never had to defend themselves with a gun to armchair quarterback and suggest alternatives to firearm ownership in the event that the worst happens, but for those who have been thrust into a situation that called for one, a gun is often the only hope of survival.

For openly-gay Tom G Palmer, for example, a handgun was a lifesaver. In 1982, he was surrounded by 20 gang members who shrieked homophobic insults while threatening to kill him. Violence against gay people is a serious problem worldwide, and the results are often tragically fatal. Assuming he was about to get jumped, Tom brandished a 9mm pistol, dispersing the crowd. Tom refused to be made a victim over his sexual orientation.

The Right to Self-Defense Is Fundamental

People are sometimes put into situations in which it is impossible to survive without a firearm. Smaller-sized people have few options for self-defense when facing a group of attackers or a larger assailant with a weapon. Firearms are a crucial equalizer for women as well, thus enhancing women’s rights.

When the right to keep and bear arms is suppressed, people sometimes are plunged into these situations without a weapon of their own. Criminals do not fear gun laws. Most gun charges pale in comparison to the sentences the same person will receive for using the weapon in the commission of a crime. What difference does an extra six months in prison make when the person is already facing 3 life sentences? Meanwhile, anti-gun laws do discourage decent, law-abiding people from carrying weapons, thus allowing police and criminals to have a monopoly on the ability to unleash deadly force.

While it’s important to note that crime rates have been dropping for years before the Heller case was heard by the high court, murder rates had been rising again in 2008. After the handgun ban was overturned, the number of murders in Washington DC began to drop even faster and have now hit the lowest point since 1963.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.