Thursday, March 15, 2007

DC Officials Confused by Murder Statistics

The Macaca Post has a fairly long rant attributed to DC's director of Youth Rehabilitation Services and acting police chief. Here is the title and relevant excerpts:

Give Us Back Our Gun Law

By Cathy Lanier and Vincent Schiraldi

...Back in 1995, the number of juveniles arrested for homicides in the District peaked at an alarming 14...

In 1995 the District already had one of the nation's toughest gun control laws, forbidding handgun possession in the home. This is the provision the appeals court recently overturned...

[Since then,] bans on multiple gun sales in neighboring states choked off black-market sales, while the D.C. ban on guns in the home reduced the ability of youths to borrow guns from family and friends. The result? The number of juveniles charged with homicide in the District fell 86 percent from 1995 to 2006. In 1995, 14 of the 227 people charged with a homicide in the District, or 6 percent, were juveniles. Last year, only two out of 106 people (fewer than 2 percent) charged with homicides in the District were juveniles. Because easy access to cheap handguns disproportionately jeopardizes D.C. youths, laws that restrict such access disproportionately benefit youths.

In 1995, when juvenile murder was at this "peak" the overreaching DC gun ban was almost two decades old. The law, in fact, predated the juveniles themselves.

By ignoring this fact and focusing on only the most recent years, Lanier and Schiraldi have stumbled into making an argument for relatively minor restrictions on gun sales. Maryland and Virginia, without enacting extremist gun bans, have helped save the District from itself.

In calling for the repeal of DC's gun ban, the Washington Times recently brought up a much more relevant statistic:
Since 1976, the city's murder rate is up 32 percent. The country's is down 36 percent. Let's see whether letting law-abiding citizens get more guns means less crime.
A 1976 law must be judged by statistics since 1976, not 1995. Now we know why those were left out.

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