The opening sentence of this Reuters article is a bit tough to comprehend.
A U.S. appeals court on Friday struck down a 30-year-old Washington, D.C., law that bans handguns in homes, a precedent-setting ruling that dealt a setback to a city with one of America's highest crime rates.How can the abandonment of a crime fighting strategy that has demonstrated its utter futility for over thirty years be considered a "setback"? Is it the Reuters staff's position that the continuation of abject failure is progress? Keep in mind, the handgun ban was fully in place last July, when Washington DC declared a "crime emergency"--is someone trying to tell us that the ban was working well?
Our favorite United States Senator from New Jersey was predictably apoplectic.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, criticized the ruling.Lautenberg was referring to a study released by the Police Executive Research Forum. Here are some of the findings of that study:
"On the same day a new report demonstrated a sharp rise in violent crime, a federal court handed down a decision that could pour even more guns onto the streets of our nation's capital. This decision is a major setback in the effort to make communities safer," he said.
* Forty of the 56 surveyed police departments, or 71 percent, saw homicide rates increase over the two-year period. That translated into an overall 10.2 percent jump in murders. Between 2005 and 2006, the increase in murders was much lower: 2.8 percent.I couldn't help but notice some points in that study that would seem to indicate that we're not exactly riding an explosively growing crime wave. Consider:
* Robberies rose among the cities by 6 percent since 2005 and 12 percent since 2004. Between 75 and 80 percent of the departments surveyed reported a spike in robberies over the two-year period.
* Felony robberies dipped slightly, by 2 percent, between 2005 and 2006, but rose slightly, by 3 percent, since 2004.
* Gun assaults saw a 1 percent boost from 2005 but spiked by nearly 10 percent during the two-year period.
That translated into an overall 10.2 percent jump in murders. Between 2005 and 2006, the increase in murders was much lower: 2.8 percent.The 2004-2006 murder rate jump was 10.2%, but only 2.8% of that came in 2005-2006 (meaning the other 7.8% came in 2004-2005)
Felony robberies dipped slightly, by 2 percent, between 2005 and 2006, but rose slightly, by 3 percent, since 2004.Felony robberies actually fell by 2% from 2005-2006, but there was a net increase of 3% over the two year period--meaning that although there was a 5% increase in 2004-2005, we gained back much of the lost ground last year.
Gun assaults saw a 1 percent boost from 2005 but spiked by nearly 10 percent during the two-year period.Gun assaults went up nearly 10% over the two year period, but 9 tenths of that must have happened in 2004-2005, because the 2005-2006 increase was only 1%.
Almost all of this "2 year increase" seems to have occurred in the first year. What all this tells me is that this "spike" in violent crime seems to be leveling off--and rather dramatically. Funny how the article doesn't mention that.
But even if we buy Lautenberg's alarmist claims that violent crime is spiraling out of control, how does that lead anyone to the conclusion that the way to counter is to continue DC's obviously failed strategy?
It should be obvious that civilian disarmament laws disarm only those who obey laws, thus rendering them helpless against those who do not. Defeating such laws is only a "setback" for those who wish to continue to terrorize our nation's neighborhoods with impunity.