The Supreme Court is currently considering whether or not to uphold a federal appeals court’s strikedown of the D.C. gun ban. The essential argument is that even with the gun ban in place, D.C.’s violent crime rate is still far too high, and the illegal gun trade means that criminals can always get their hands on a piece, even when citizens can’t.
On the one hand, I’m skeptical that an armed DC populace will make the city safer. Indeed, I have nightmares of DC’s watering holes turning into shootouts from the OK Corral because some drunk idiot decided to pack heat and got mad because the girl he was chatting up turned him down. The Second Amendment clearly states that a “well-regulated militia” is eseential to the national safety–and that doesn’t just mean a background check. That means lots of training, something I suspect a lot of wannabe Harry Callahans will overlook (“Why the hell are you holding your gun sideways like that?” “I saw 50 Cent do that in his video! It was gangsta!”).
But on the other hand, a vote that D.C. has all the rights other states do under the Second Amendment would be one more admission that the District should be entitled to all the other rights states possess, including the right to Congressional representation. If we can pay taxes, send our sons and daughters to war, and own guns, we should be able to call our Senator up and chew them out. The DC gun ban has often been used as a flashpoint for Congressmen from other states to mess around in our city’s development. We should have the right to decide these things for ourselves, not on the whims of a guy like George “Macaca” Allen.
What’s left unsaid in the debate over D.C.’s gun laws is how the city’s demographics are changing, and the laws are changing as a result. Crime always goes where the money is, and right now the money is in gentrification, luxury condos, and rich (usually, but not always) white families and businessmen moving in to the city to be closer to the action. As the crime rate rises, the new residents don’t feel like the MPD can protect them (rightly or wrongly), and so the chorus demanding that the right to keep and bear arms not be infringed grows louder.
What does the D.C. blogosphere think? Will removing the gun ban cause crime rates to drop, or bodies to drop instead?