Part 11 DC Councilman: DC Gun Law Not Tough Enough

Larry Pratt

Kathy Patterson, head of the Washington DC City Council’s Committee On The Judiciary, is another local government official who adamantly opposes allowing cab drivers — or any private citizens — to keep and bear arms to defend themselves. The Washington Post (2/5/03) quotes her as saying: “There is no question in the universe that can be answered by more guns. The District of Columbia is clear on this: We oppose guns.”

We are unaware that Patterson has communicated this absolutist opposition to guns to the police department. No doubt the police would agree that there is no question in the universe that can be answered by more guns.

But there’s a problem here… a serious and deadly problem. The blatantly unconstitutional, anti-self-defense, so-called “gun control” laws Patterson supports in Washington DC have not reduced crimes committed by people with guns. In fact, the District of Columbia is well on its way to (again) becoming the murder capital of our country. So, the result of the “gun control” laws Patterson continues to advocate has been that only the criminals have the guns; innocent citizens are disarmed. What does Patterson have to say about this? Here’s the way it went when she was interviewed:

    Q: The present situation in Washington DC is that — because of the “gun control” laws you support and don’t want to change — only the criminals have the guns and disarmed, innocent private citizens are at their mercy. Why do you want to preserve this deadly status quo?

    A: It’s only half of that status quo I’d like to preserve, not the first half, obviously. If there were other states that had more strict laws, then perhaps some of our criminals might not have guns.

Note, please, that the states nearest the District of Columbia have looser gun control laws but a lower violent crime rate than DC.

Patterson says that a while back the DC City Council passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress “to take the step of banning handguns, period — the sale, manufacture, distribution, etc.” She says this would be “one way to stop criminals from having the guns.”

    Q: So, you really think criminals in Washington DC would obey your ban-all-handguns law?

    A: If there were no handguns in this country, it would be difficult to have a handgun.”

True — if this was true. Because, by definition, if there were no handguns in our country, there would be no handguns in our country.

    Q: But, we have more than 200 million guns in this country. You’re not going to get rid of them all. So the question is, who will have handguns? Will private citizens be allowed to defend themselves, to keep and bear arms and —

    A: I don’t rule out getting rid of all the handguns. I really don’t. I’m an eternal optimist. I don’t rule out entirely that Congress could do this.

    Q: Congress could get rid of the more than 200 million guns in this country?

    A: They certainly could.

    Q: You don’t really believe that because a law is passed it actually accomplishes its stated purpose, do you?

    A: (laughing) No, I’m well aware that we enact laws here and then have to oversee the Mayor to make sure he implements them. I’m aware of this challenge.

    Q: And one “challenge” you would face in trying to get rid of all the guns in our country is the Second Amendment to our Constitution. What about the constitutionally protected right of private citizens to keep and bear arms?

    A: I respect what’s in the Constitution today. But this constitutional provision does not say, “handguns shall be available to anyone who wants them.” It preserves the right of the State to raise a militia, you know. It’s not that specific to permit that particular gun.

    Q: So, what do you say to cab drivers who every night fear for their lives and would like to have a handgun for self-defense?

    A: I would say… I am doing everything I can think of to do to make sure our police department is doing its job and that means pro-active patrols, knowing the neighborhoods.

    Q: But suppose a cab driver would say to you: “Great. I hope all you’re doing succeeds. Meanwhile, I need self-protection every night. I need a handgun.”

    A: I don’t see the cause and effect there. I don’t see someone being safer for carrying a handgun.

At this point, Patterson is told several stories about cabbies in our country who, because they were armed, were able to defend themselves against attackers, some of whom were trying to murder the cabbie.

She replies: “Are you serious?” She’s told yes, these stories are true.

    Q: Have you done any research regarding how many cabbies have defended themselves with handguns?

    A: I have not researched that particular point.

    Q: Then how can you say, as you have, that you don’t know of anyone who was safer because he had a handgun?

    A: I have done a lot of reading over time. I have not researched the particular question you ask me about… I’m not aware of those statistics. But, I have read studies in terms of the increased danger to people from carrying handguns.

    Q: But, why do you read only the bad stuff about guns but not the good stuff where — as some studies show — millions of Americans use guns every year in self-defense?

    A: I’m pleased to answer your questions. But, I’m not really interested in having an argument.

Bulletin! Bulletin! I interrupt this column to tell you that, without fail, when someone like Kathy Patterson says she’s not interested in arguing, what is meant is that the person is not interested in losing an argument!

    Q: But seriously, why not study all data regarding handguns — the good, the bad and the ugly — and then have your opinion? I assume you believe in the right of self-defense, right?

    A: (pause) Oh, absolutely.

    Q: OK. But, how then, in Washington DC, are cabbies to defend themselves if they are attacked, their lives are threatened and they have no guns to defend themselves?

No reply.

    Q: What if you could be convinced that there are many, many times more good uses made of handguns possessed by private citizens than there are bad uses? Would you change your mind on gun control?

    A: I would be very unlikely to change my mind. But, I’m always open to learning.

    Q: Would you change your mind if you were convinced that if cabbies were armed they would be much safer?

    A: I, I doubt it that you would be able to convince me.

    Q: Well, this is probably true because on this issue, obviously, your mind is already made up — though you admit you haven’t studied any of the data regarding the good uses of guns. Why haven’t you studied this data?

    A: I guess I find more persuasive the international statistics where you look at countries that, you know — you see the statistics on the relationship between the number of guns and the number of bad things versus the lack of guns. I mean, some of those statistics are really startlingly stark. And I guess I find that somewhat persuasive.

    Q: But, in England your ban-all-private guns plan has been in effect for years. And it has been a disaster, with their violent crime rate now higher than in our country!

To which Patterson replies that she thinks there’s been “a seemingly good effect” of the anti-gun laws in England. She adds, however, that if there are current statistics that contradicts her view, “I’m not familiar with that.”

Whenever I read or hear the views of gun-grabbers like Kathy Patterson, I think of the motto of the United Negro College Fund which is: “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste.”