While Democrats are clamoring for stronger gun control, former Washington, D.C. prosecutor Jeffrey Shapiro says that experience dictates harsh gun control laws don't work.
“As a former prosecutor in Washington, D.C., who enforced firearms and ammunition cases while a severe local gun ban was still in effect, I am skeptical of the benefits that many imagine will result from additional gun-control efforts,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal
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“I dislike guns, but I believe that a nationwide firearms crackdown would place an undue burden on law enforcement and endanger civil liberties while potentially increasing crime.”
The D.C. gun ban, begun in 1976, allowed only law-enforcement officials to carry a gun in the city. Residents couldn’t even keep a firearm in their homes for self-defense.
“The gun ban had an unintended effect: it emboldened criminals because they knew that law-abiding District residents were unarmed and powerless to defend themselves,” Shapiro says. Violent crime went up after the law came into effect. Murders almost doubled to 369 in 1988 from 188 in 1976.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck the law down in 2007, and murders have dropped sharply since then — to 88 in 2012, the lowest total since the law was enacted and less than half the 186 seen in 2008.
“The decline resulted from a variety of factors, but losing the gun ban certainly did not produce the rise in murders that many might have expected,” Shapiro writes.
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