By J. Michael Springmann

Washington DC gun laws apply only to citizens—not criminals

February 11, 2023 - 23:28

Background.  Like most medium to large American cities, Washington, D.C., i.e. the State of Confusion, is “governed” by Democrats who have failed every city they govern in terms of criminal activity and heinous crimes.

For example, Chicago, “America’s Second City”, has Lori Lightfoot as mayor.  She is a Democrat.  During the arson attacks and insurrections in 2020, she withdrew the police from the most violence-plagued areas of the town.  She then surrounded herself with them—for “protection”.    The burden of Chicago’s gun carnage is still felt most in Chicago’s Black and Hispanic neighborhoods on the South and West sides. (City-wide deaths in 2020 amounted to nearly 800 people.)

According to the Washington Post of January 25, 2023, there are an estimated 400 million firearms in the U.S.—more than the country’s total population.  So the issue is not the danger of individual weapons, rather the problem is of politicians failing to enforce existing laws.

Look at Washington, D.C.

While D.C. has always had restrictive firearms laws, it went off the deep end about 1976, shortly after “Home Rule” was granted by Congress in 1973. (The city’s government had previously consisted of three Commissioners appointed by the President as well as having Congressional oversight and control of various aspects of the city’s management.)  In 1976, the new mayor-city council form of administration banned citizens from possessing handguns.  This abuse of the Bill of Rights eventually ended up in federal court--several times.   Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against D.C.

Only Criminals Have Rights.  However, Democrats being Democrats, the city immediately imposed different restrictions on its citizens seeking to exercise their Constitutional rights.

·       Licenses were still required for handguns and long arms

·       The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is the licensing/registering authority

·       Some firearms are banned, generally ugly ones, albeit in common calibers, such semi-automatic “assault” weapons

·       Magazines are limited to 10 rounds capacity

·       Background checks by a Federal Firearms Licensee are required for private transfers of weapons

·       A 10-day “waiting period” is required between the purchase and possession of a firearm

·       Registrants must have a mental and criminal background check

·       It’s illegal to possess ammunition unless the firearm using it is registered with the police

·       Blind people may not apply to own a weapon (!!!)

At one point, there was talk that the police were required to test fire each weapon and retain the spent cartridge.  In the event that it were used in a crime, the owner could be easily traced.  The validity of this process seems to have disappeared.  Conversations with the spokesman for the MPD, Maketha Watson, and the National Rifle Association did not clarify the matter. 

Amazing!  However, Mrs. Watson did note in an email that the city kept no records on legal or illegal firearms being used in criminal activity!

What’s really astonishing about this story is that the Washington Post almost daily has articles briefly describing shootings and/or killings with firearms.  However, each of these small pieces omits the most salient point:  was the weapon used legal or illegal?  (The Post, like most U.S. mainstream media, vigorously opposes the possession of weapons by anyone except the police and the armed forces.  We’ve all seen how that works—police everywhere are damned for their excessive use of force and U.S. soldiers are or have recently been engaged in wars in Europe, North Africa, as well as South and Southwest Asia—besides Korea, Panama, and Vietnam.)

However, the most astonishing part of the story about the City versus the Citizen seems to have appeared and then disappeared.

Lookit, This!  The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (a Berkeley, California non-profit) released a study in December 2021 noting, inter alia, that only a few, readily-identifiable people were responsible for violent crime in Washington, D.C., And that the courts and police knew who they were!

The report noted:

·           The victims and suspects of homicides and nonfatal shootings in the District of Columbia are primarily male between the ages of 18-34. Nearly 92 percent of victims and suspects in homicides and 88 percent of victims and suspects in nonfatal shootings were male. 

·           Approximately 86 percent of homicide victims and suspects were known to the criminal justice system prior to the incident. Among all victims and suspects, about 46 percent had been previously incarcerated…

·       At least 23.3 percent of all homicide victims and suspects were under active supervision (i.e., CSOSA, PSA, or DYRS—acronym explanation follows).  At least 64 percent of all victims and suspects had been under…prior or active supervision and at least 76% of homicide suspects had active or prior supervision.  [CSOSA:  Court Services & Offender Supervision Agency-- a federal agency with the distinctly local mission of supervising adults on probation, parole, and supervised release.  PSA:  Pre-Trial Services Agency--the federal agency responsible for gathering information about newly arrested defendants and preparing the recommendations considered by the Court in deciding release options. DYRS:  Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.]

·       Overall, most victims and suspects with prior criminal offenses had been arrested about 11 times for about 13 different offenses by the time of the homicide. This count only refers to adult arrests and juvenile arrests were not included.

Cause.  In the analysis, there were no mysteries as to the cause of the violence.  It tended to result from personal disputes, group disputes, illicit drugs, robbery, and retaliation.  Most violence took place east of Rock Creek Park (a wooded area in the center of town), particularly Anacostia (an area southeast of the Anacostia River).

Oddly enough, the paper notes “All of this is made possible and exacerbated by the wide availability of firearms and the culture of resolving conflicts through violence.”  The latter point is clear.  However, given D.C.’s overly strict control of weapons, claiming that the “wide availability of firearms” being one of the causes of violence is as much shocking as it is stupid.

Strangely, the Institute didn’t recommend more “gun control” as a solution to the problem.  Instead, it said, “The District should establish a clear citywide strategy that focuses intentional, structured and intensive intervention efforts on those individuals identified as being at very high risk of being involved in gun violence.”

So what do we do?  Get rid of Muriel Bowser’s government, replacing it with the old three Commissioners' form of rule?  Or, simply abolish the city’s dangerous, unconstitutional, and entirely unworkable system of “gun control”?
The latter point seems to be the most sensible and effective way of handling the matter.

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