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Removal of DC's Handgun Ban Had Little Effect on Homicide

Image: Removal of DC's Handgun Ban Had Little Effect on Homicide
(George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By Joe Crowe   |   Tuesday, 18 Apr 2017 11:07 AM

The removal of a ban on handguns in the District of Columbia had little effect on the amount of homicides that were committed with and without firearms.

Between 2000 and 2007, almost 80 percent of homicide victims in D.C. were killed using guns. That amount dropped to 74 percent after 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the handgun ban unconstitutional, according to Washington Post data analyzed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The overall decrease in gun-related homicides tracked alongside a decrease in all homicides in the area from 2002 to 2012.

"I expect murders to fall. How they fall is a different question. The people who generally obeyed the ban were law-abiding citizens and not the criminals," said John Lott, Crime Prevention Research Center president.

Firearm-related homicide rates went down nationwide in "large central metro jurisdictions," Daniel Webster at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research told the Daily Caller.

The Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia v. Heller, had one significant effect, according to Lott: "Heller legalized people being able to use guns in self-defense." He said pointing out that knowing residents had access to self-defense firearms mighty have deterred some from committing violent crimes.

Republican lawmakers have taken issue with D.C.'s strict gun laws. Freshman Virginia Rep. Thomas Garrett, on March 15, filed a bill to delete D.C.'s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, according to The Washington Post.

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The removal of a ban on handguns in the District of Columbia had little effect on the amount of homicides that were committed with and without firearms.
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