|A Tale Of Two Cities
||[Jul. 22nd, 2009|01:26 pm]
|||||Breaking The Law - Judas Priest||]|
Last year Washington DC's handgun ban was overturned as unconstitutional. Supporters of the ban warned, as they always do, that there would be blood running in the streets and all the other usual terrifying scenarios that would occur if DC residents were allowed to keep a handgun in their home. Mayor Adrian Fenty warned that:
"More guns, anywhere in the District of Columbia, is going to lead to more crime."
This is the usual refrain from those who believe that gun availability—rather than social, economic and cultural factors—is what drives crime rates up and down. So what has happened in DC?
Violent crime has plummeted in the Washington area ... In the District and Prince George's County, homicides are down about 17 percent this year.
I'm not claiming that the drop is due to handguns being suddenly legal for law-abiding people to own. But it's pretty clear that allowing them to do so has not caused the surge in violent crime and gun crime that the anti-gun rights people all claimed would occur. It never does.
Since the ban was overturned, 515 handguns have been legally registered with the DC Police Department. Although 2,000 illegal weapons have been seized in the last year, none of the legally owned and registered handguns has been stolen. None have been used in the commission of a crime.
Last week, not too far from where I live in Jersey City, five police officers were shot by a felon in a shootout. One of the officers has since died from his wounds. Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey called the weapon used by the suspects:
"... a combat weapon. It's got a stock that's retractable. It had a strap on it where he had numerous shells on it. He was ready to battle ... I don't know how many times a big city chief has to stand here and say we need help to stop these weapons from hitting the streets. This weapon is manufactured for no other reason than to hunt man. So we should stop being afraid of the NRA and start being afraid of our own rights."
First of all, the weapon used by the now-dead felon was not made to "hunt man," nor was it an assault weapon. It was not even semi-automatic. It was a pump-action shotgun.
Secondly, New Jersey already has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation—even a .22 rifle that Sears used to sell is considered a banned "assault weapon." Even to purchase a "normal" rifle or a shotgun in this state you need to first acquire a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. Needless to say, the cop-killer did not purchase or possess his shotgun legally—he had already served four years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm—a direct violation of both State and Federal Law.
So I'm wondering just what gun laws Police Chief Comey thinks NJ doesn't already have that would have prevented a career criminal from illegally acquiring a pump-action shotgun.