Arming the District
Saturday, May 21, 2005; Page A18
BECAUSE THE District bans handguns, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) complains that she had to dismantle her weapon when she came to town. She said that at home in Texas, "I had always had a handgun in the drawer next to my bed." That may be, but it doesn't give Mrs. Hutchison a legitimate cause to propose a repeal of the city's wise law, given the strong opposition of District leaders and residents to the idea of keeping guns in their homes. Yet Mrs. Hutchison, joined by fellow Republicans George Allen (Va.) and John Cornyn (Tex.), has sponsored a wrongheaded bill to kill D.C. gun laws.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) described the senators' proposal as an "assault on self-government." Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said their legislation was a "rude insult" to city residents. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and School Superintendent Clifford B. Janey fear what a proliferation of guns would do to a city that has had a 17 percent decline in homicides since last year.
We would go one step further and observe that Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. Cornyn and Mr. Allen are hardly in a position to lecture the District on public safety, let alone make the case for gun ownership and the deterrence of crime.
We call attention to the state of Texas and a story in the March 19 Dallas Morning News, headlined: "Dallas tops in crime again." It said, "Dallas had the highest crime rate among cities with more than 1 million residents for the seventh consecutive year in 2004, according to statistics released by police departments in the nation's largest cities. The city's murder rate crept up to No. 2 among those cities."
The Dallas police chief reportedly talked about a strategy to take drugs and guns off the street. Houston, meanwhile, ranked fifth among cities with more than 1 million people and fourth for overall crimes. Both Texas cities earned rankings ahead of Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York City.
On the question of laws that shield families from gun violence, Texas received a grade of "D minus," according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "In 2002, the most recent year for which data is available, 222 children and teenagers in Texas died from gunfire," reported the Brady campaign.
Mr. Allen said the District's gun laws have helped to foster crime in the city. But where does Mr. Allen think many of those illegal guns flooding into the nation's capital come from? Virginia, as D.C. residents know all too well.
Many District residents also know, as the Brady campaign reports, that a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting than in self-defense; that nearly all childhood unintentional shooting deaths occur in and around the home; and that a gun in the home is 11 times more likely to be used in an attempted suicide than to injure or kill in self-defense.
If Texas and Virginia choose to ignore the logic of those statistics, there's not much Washingtonians can do about it. But there's no excuse for legislators from those states to impose their views on this city.
And we should believe the Brady Bunch why? Plus (beating the perverbial dead horse) the District is such a shining example of how well gun control works. Only the bad guys are armed. Idiots.
we could also tell thousands of stories of people saving lives with personal firearms, so what's the point? we'll never get a pig to sing or the dumb-o-crats to release their death grip on gun control until we pry it from their cold dead fingers.
But where does Mr. Allen think many of those illegal guns flooding into the nation's capital come from? Virginia, as D.C. residents know all too well.
Why, oh, why does Virginia have a much lower crime rate than DC? If more guns = more crime, would't the "easy availability of guns" in VA make is a more dangerous place?