No Change In D.C. Murder Rates After Handgun Ban Eliminated

posted on April 20, 2017

In 2008, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller declaring that Washington D.C.’s handgun ban was unconstitutional. At the time, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty predicted disastrous results. “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” he warned.

Instead, a new report shows that lifting the ban had almost no effect on homicides in the District of Columbia. Using homicide data compiled by the Washington Post, The Daily Caller News Foundation determined that while gun homicides dropped nearly 22 percent after 2008, that figure was in line with an overall decline in homicides. The decrease in both types of homicides—gun-related and all other—continued through 2012. 

In other words, Fenty’s concerns were misplaced. Author and Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott noted, “The big thing that Heller had was not the handgun ban being overturned. Heller legalized people being able to use guns in self-defense.”

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