Friday, June 27, 2008

Woke Up This Morning, Got Myself a Gun

Okay, I didn't actually buy myself a gun this morning, nor did I watch the Sopranos but I could have! Yesterday the Supreme Court declared the DC ban on handguns unconstitutional. Since 1976, the District has had the strictest gun laws in the country. Until now, the Court has neglected to interpret the Second Amendment and the meaning of the right "to keep and bear arms" or the definition of "well regulated militia." It's a landmark decision and I'm excited that this is happening while I'm living in DC and working with so many conservatives. One of the guys at work said that he used to live in DC (he now lives in Virginia) and said, "It's the only place I've ever lived where I couldn't have a gun and the only place I ever felt I needed one."

It's no secret that DC has had a bit of a crime problem. It's interesting to talk to people here about the decision. I don't see the logic of those who are afraid that allowing law-abiding people to keep handguns is going to somehow make the crime rate skyrocket. I guess we shall soon find out - in 21 days or how ever long it's supposed to take the city to redraft their laws. I admit, I speak from a position of privilege. I haven't lived here that long, and have never lived in a neighborhood where gunfire is a nightly occurrence. Those who have are insistent that any guns in the District will eventually end up on the street. Where I stand (which is admittedly farther out of harm's way) it looks like there are plenty of irresponsible people who are breaking the law by owning handguns. Putting an end to the ban would permit law-abiding citizens to have guns in their home. In the end, I don't know that much will actually change. Certainly the possibility of an in-home accident with the weapon increases, but there's no way in hell DC will ever have a carry law, so we really are talking about allowing people to keep a gun in their home for the purpose of self-defense. Virginians love their guns and they have concealed carry and open carry laws, and from what I've seen - the areas of Virginia nearby are quite a bit safer than DC. It's impossible to determine how the gun laws affect the crime rates and vice-versa; there are just too many factors involved. What we can do is argue the language of the Second Amendment, and I've had some fascinating conversations. I have spoken with many DC residents, and they're strongly divided on this issue. Of course, some take it all in stride. Tonight someone told me, "People like me shouldn't have guns. If you knew my ex-husband you'd understand why." She was quite relieved that she didn't have a weapon by her nightstand during that ugly divorce. But you still have to admit - if she really wanted to off the guy, she could've found herself a gun - ban or no ban.

Of course she didn't really want to murder her ex-husband, she was making the point that perhaps guns shouldn't be available to women every 28 days or so. Let's test the constitutionality of that idea!

1 comment:

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