For Release: Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Washington, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today urged lawmakers to reject H.R. 1288, reckless legislation that would repeal the District of Columbia’s stringent restrictions on the sale and possession of handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons. A hearing on the bill took place today before the House Committee on Government Reform. Similar legislation failed last Congress.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “This new assault on the District’s landmark gun laws represents a direct threat to the safety and security of all D.C. residents, businesses, tourists, and public officials. The legislation would allow the uncontrolled proliferation of handguns, assault weapons, and even semiautomatic 50 caliber anti-armor sniper rifles. The fact ignored by the proponents of this outrageous proposal is that the District’s gun laws work.”
Crime gun tracing data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) shows that gun dealers in the District accounted for a meager three percent of recovered crime guns in 2000, the last year for which data is available. In contrast, 59 percent of traceable D.C. crime guns were first purchased in Virginia and Maryland. Another 18 percent of D.C. crime guns came from gun dealers in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. All of these jurisdictions have gun laws far more lenient than the District of Columbia’s.
Adds Rand, “In fact, America would be a much safer place if the rest of the country replicated Washington, D.C.’s strict gun laws.”