Threat of Handgun Ban
Repeal Puts Lives of DC Residents in Supreme Court Balance
today�s announcement by DC Mayor Adrian Fenty that the District of Columbia
would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court the decision in Parker, et al v.
the District of Columbia overturning on Second Amendment grounds the District
of Columbia�s handgun ban, the Violence Policy Center released the following
"The earlier split
decision by the Court of Appeals to overturn the District of Columbia�s
handgun ban was not only contrary to the overwhelming weight of legal
authority, but would certainly increase gun death and injury among District
residents while also increasing the risks faced by the law enforcement
personnel who protect all residents and workers in Washington, DC.
ban on handguns in the home has long protected DC's residents as measured
by the District of Columbia's firearm suicide and overall suicide rate.
The District�s handgun ban provides compelling evidence of how strict
gun laws save lives by keeping handguns out of homes. The District of
Columbia ranks 51st (last) in the country for firearms suicide for 2004,
the most recent year for which statistics are available. The District
also ranks last for overall suicide. Maintaining the ban will ensure the
health and safety of DC residents. [See http://www.vpc.org/dcsuicide.htm
for data on DC suicide rates compared to the 10 states with the highest
suicide, gun suicide, and gun ownership rates, as well as a full ranking
of all 50 states by their firearm suicide rates and overall suicide rates
for the year 2004.]
"If the Court of Appeals
ruling is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, it will not only result in
the deaths of District residents, but potentially lay the groundwork for
literally every local, state, and federal gun law in America to be challenged:
from the federal ban on gun possession by felons, to the ban on carrying
guns onto airplanes, to the ban on the manufacture of fully automatic
machine guns for civilian use."
According to the most
recent data available from the National Center for Health Statistics:
- The District�s
firearm suicide rate of .90 per 100,000 residents is far below the national
average of 5.7 per 100,00. Likewise, the District�s overall suicide
rate is 5.95 per 100,000, compared to a national average of 11.05.
- The District�s
firearms suicide rate is a fraction of the rates experienced in states
with high rates of gun ownership. In 2004 the 10 states with the highest
firearms suicide rates were Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, West Virginia,
New Mexico, Wyoming, Kentucky, Vermont, and Tennessee.
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109