Part 5 Blood On The Hands: DC Gun Ban

Larry Pratt

It can be said, without the slightest exaggeration, that the blood of countless victims of murder, robbery and rape is on the hands of those who have supported, and still support, Washington DC’s gun ban laws which deny private citizens their Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms in self-defense.

One of the most rabid and vehement advocates of the DC gun ban is District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams whose views are represented by his press spokesman Tony Bullock. Commenting on a lawsuit challenging the DC gun ban, Bullock is quoted in the Washington Times (2/12/03) as saying:

“The last thing this city needs is more handguns. You’re not going to see any will on the part of this Mayor to relax the gun laws in the District…. We have to maintain the deterrent effect of the gun laws. I think it’s a real myth that people would be able to arm themselves and avoid being shot.”

The “deterrent effect” of the DC gun ban?! DC’s unconstitutional gun ban has in no way been a deterrent as far as crimes committed by people using guns is concerned. The only “deterrent effect” of these deadly gun ban laws has been to disarm private citizens and thus prevent them from defending themselves against armed criminals.

And it’s no “myth” that armed citizens are able to protect themselves against criminals. Various studies have shown that millions of Americans use guns in self-defense every year.

In his book Can Gun Control Work? (Oxford, 2002), James B. Jacobs, who is pro-gun control and a law professor at New York University, says (page 223-224) that the idea that more gun-carrying citizens means less crime should not “be scoffed at or ignored.” He continues:

    After all, Chicago, New York and Washington DC, which issue very few concealed carry permits, are still plagued by high rates of violent crime. Their laws may be counterproductive if criminals arm themselves with ease, while law-abiding citizens lack adequate self-defense. Perhaps these highly restrictive licensing jurisdictions should issue more permits to ‘reliable’ citizens.

But, the Mayor of Washington DC and Tony Bullock are fanatical anti-gun nuts. So, they scoff at and ignore any data which show that more citizens with guns would mean less crime. In an interview with GOA, when asked if he or the Mayor had looked at any of the studies which show that more citizens with guns means less crime, Bullock says: “It’s a moot issue because the DC law will not be changed.” He says that what “really struck home” to him recently was a recent story where a young girl shot her brother with a handgun.

    Q: And what did you conclude from this story?

    A: That guns are dangerous things and they kill people.

Well, as the kids say: Duh! Yes, guns are dangerous and do kill people. In fact, they are used to murder people all the time in Washington DC — innocent people who are disarmed and helpless because of the DC gun ban.

    Q: So, what do you say to one of your citizens, Shelly Parker, who’s a party to a lawsuit to change your anti-gun laws? She lives in a high-crime neighborhood and has been threatened with death by drug-dealers. She wants a handgun in her home for self-defense.

    A: That’s not the answer. And I’m reflecting the opinion of the Mayor.

Bullock says the “appropriate place” for guns is for the police to have them and for “sporting activities.” But, equipping average citizens with guns “is not the solution to crime.” Why self defense with a gun, for a private citizen, is not “appropriate,” Bullock does not say.

    Q: But what about studies which show that where private citizens are allowed to be armed crime has been reduced?

    A: Well, you can show studies that prove the other point.

    Q: What studies show that where citizens are armed crime has not been reduced?

No reply.

Bullock says: “The problem is that the guns that get into the general population, or guns that are in a home, often fall into the wrong hands — children, intruders.”

Hello? Earth-to-Tony! Wake up, please! In Washington DC, because of your deadly unconstitutional gun ban laws, guns are almost always in the “wrong hands,” the hands of criminals!

Mocking the idea that private citizens should be allowed to have guns for self-defense, Bullock says: “And I guess your answer would be that we should just graduate everyone from high school with a Glock?”

    GOA: But, the people who have Glocks now are the criminals! The people who don’t have Glocks now to defend themselves are your citizens! But, several of your citizens are in court now asking to have guns for self-defense. Why are you against this?

Bullock says he believes the “individual right” to keep and bear arms is “a distortion” of the Second Amendment. He reiterates that he “has nothing against having guns for law enforcement and hunting.” But, of course, he is not for private DC citizens having guns for self-defense when these citizens are being “hunted” by criminals!

    GOA: (laughing) You’re just against guns being used for self-defense by private citizens, right?

    A: If you find that so amusing —

    Q: I don’t!

    A: Then everyone who disagrees with you is a joke. Sorry, I don’t share your advocacy position.

    Q: But, this is, literally, your position: Guns are OK for cops, OK for sports. But, not for private citizens to use in self-defense.

    A: We have too many handguns in this country.

    Q: And in Washington DC it’s the criminals who have them!

    A: Well, maybe none of us should have them. That would be a better way to go.

    Q: So, how has your gun ban for private citizens worked? Has it reduced crimes committed by people with guns?

    A: It’s kind of hard to compete with Virginia when they can just throw them across the border.

    Q: And where Virginia has looser gun laws and less crime committed by people with guns. Interesting, huh?

    A: That’s because they export all (!) their guns into the District of Columbia. We have a huge problem here (in DC) with crime and handguns and you don’t solve it with more guns, by having shoot-outs in apartment houses.

    Q: But, now, because of your private citizen gun ban, there are no “shoot-outs” because only the criminals have the guns! Private, innocent citizens in your apartment houses and elsewhere are being shot and murdered but can’t shoot back because you forbid them to have guns for self-defense! Your gun ban laws haven’t prevented shootings. They’ve only prevented your citizens from shooting back and defending themselves!

No reply.

Bullock notes that he married a Canadian. He wonders why we are a more violent society than Canada in terms of guns. He’s told that if this is true, then this is one more reason why private American citizens should be allowed to have guns for self-defense!

    Q: I don’t understand why you and the Mayor so against private citizens having guns for self-defense.

    A: And I don’t understand why some people think that people like me, or my wife and children, are going to feel safer walking around the city where every other person has a handgun. I don’t want to be in the middle of that.

    Q: But, the status quo in Washington DC, which you and the Mayor are for preserving, means that, with almost total certainty, every other person walking around in the District of Columbia with a handgun, is a criminal! Does this make you, your wife and children safer?

No reply. End of interview.