District's Gun Laws Miss Their Target

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

District's Gun Laws Miss Their Target


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Everything bad that has ever happened to blacks in America is due to racism, liberals say. Since the Democrats' new hobby is seeking out racist proclivities in everyone's past - except their own - black liberals in D.C. may want to consider challenging one of their party's own traditionally racist policies: gun control. Blatantly unconstitutional, the District's gun laws do nothing to deter crime, and everything to keep the murder rate among the highest in the nation.

According to the U.S. Constitution, Americans have an individual right - not a collective one - to keep and to bear arms. That right is a personal one and subject only to reasonable regulation. The District's gun laws are an unreasonable and outright violation of the Second Amendment. In a manner reminiscent of the days of human bondage in America, black, law-abiding citizens are once again denied their constitutional right to bear arms.

In 1976, the "visionaries" on the D.C. City Council passed a law prohibiting the sale of new guns. The laws also prohibit anyone from bringing a handgun into the District or transporting one through the city. This off-the-wall scheme was conjured up as a way to prevent criminals from getting guns. Since enactment of the law 27 years ago, the murder rate in the District has risen 134 percent, and the nation's capital has been the butt of every "murder capital of the world" joke from here to Outer Mongolia.

Government intrusion isn't new. For at least two centuries in America's history, blacks have been stripped of the freedom of movement, association and expression. Before the Civil War, they were prohibited from owning firearms for fear of slave rebellions, and because they were not citizens under the law.

After the abolition of slavery in 1863, whites continued to prohibit black ownership of firearms by charging excessively high taxes, effectively "pricing them out" of the market. Additionally, the Black Codes - laws set up after the Civil War in 1865 by Southern Democrats - continued to restrict the rights of newly freed slaves to own firearms, own or rent farmland, vote, sit on juries, testify against white men, sue, and enter into contracts. As de facto slavery, the Black Codes' purpose was to maintain the white hierarchy.

Some things never die.

What dies are the rights of people to protect themselves. A study by John Lott, a Yale University professor, found that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes. …

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