Threat of Handgun Ban Repeal Puts Lives of DC Residents in Supreme Court Balance 

For Release:  Monday, July 16, 2007

Washington, DC–Following 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 statement:

“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.

“Washington, DC’s 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 this chart 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.




About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
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