A Gun Ban By Any Other Name…

March 31, 2010 05:11

Every location for which crime data is available has seen an increase in murder rates after gun bans have been imposed.

By John Lott – FOXNews.com

Gun control laws divert money from law enforcement activities that work. The thousands of hours spent by police to register guns are time that police could have put to solving crimes. That diversion of resources is the real threat to public safety.

On Friday, a federal District Court judge tried to indirectly reinstate the D.C. handgun ban. Judge Ricardo Urbina, a Clinton appointee, wants to make it so difficult for people living in DC to use a handgun defensively that few will get one.

Last September, a Washington Post reporter, Christian Davenport, found out just how difficult it still is to get a handgun in D.C. even after the Supreme Court struck down the city’s handgun ban. Excluding the price of the gun, the reporter spent $558.69 in various fees to get through the approval process. But that was only part of the cost. It took him “a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam.”

So when do these types of regulations constitute just as much of a ban on handguns as an outright ban? A dollar tax solely on newspapers would clearly be struck down as unconstitutional. The power to regulate can destroy both the First and Second Amendments. Despite the costs, about a thousand people may have gotten handgun permits. That is only about 0.2 percent of adults living in D.C. The big change from the 2008 Heller decision might have simply been that D.C. law now requires that gun owners (primarily those owning long guns) only have to store their guns locked and unloaded if minors might have access to them. And it is probably this change that helps explain why D.C.’s murder rate fell by 25 percent the year after the handgun ban was struck down as unconstitutional.

Judge Urbina justifies the regulations using the same reasons that D.C. originally tried to use to justify the ban based on public safety. But for the regulations ruled on by Judge Urbina, the evidence clearly shows that freedom and safety go together. More guns mean less crime. Rules that make it very costly and difficult for people to register handguns for self-defense, disarm law-abiding citizens relative to criminals and make crime more likely. It isn’t too surprising that every place in the world where guns have been banned and crime rates are available to study have seen an increase in murder rates.

After the Supreme Court struck down the handgun ban and gunlocks in 2008, the D.C. Council enacted strict new handgun laws. On Friday, the judge found D.C.’s new handgun laws constitutional because “the Council provided ample evidence of the ways [the different gun laws] will effectuate the goal of promoting public safety.” The problem is that D.C. really didn’t provide “evidence,” and merely made claims that the gun laws work. The court ruled that those claimed benefits outweighed the constitutional rights lost from the regulations.


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