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Public Statements

District of Columbia Personal Protection Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2004)

Mr. SOUDER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 803, I call up the bill (H.R. 3193) to restore second amendment rights in the District of Columbia, and ask for its immediate consideration.

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Mr. GRAVES. Mr. Speaker, while we ultimately are debating two different gun control bans in the District of Columbia, I am going to confine my comments to the District's ban on the acquisition or possession of a handgun. The evidence is clear that this handgun ban has not reduced crime.

Since the ban, the city's violent crime rates, particularly its murder rates, have increased. When the ban went into effect, the city's murder rate was twice the national rate. Today it is more than seven times the national rate.

Chicago is the other major American city that has a handgun ban, and it has been on the books almost as long as the District's. The Chicago ban went into effect in 1982, and within a decade murders with handguns doubled.

California banned so-called "assault weapons" in 1989. For the next 5 years, California's murder rate increased every year, 26 percent overall.

Of course, I am sure we are all familiar with the study that was conducted of the Federal assault weapons law, under Congress's mandate. That study found no hard evidence that the ban had any effect on crime. Among the reasons for this, the guns that were banned were rarely used in crime before the ban.

Many of our colleagues may also remember that several years ago we passed legislation prohibiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using Federal funds to pay for so-called studies designed from the outset to reach conclusions that political activists could use to promote gun control for policy purposes.

It was clear that there was a significant bias at the CDC in favor of gun control. And that bias remains. But even the CDC, in a study conducted last year, found no evidence that gun bans reduce crime. For that matter, the study found no evidence that any form of gun control reduces crime.

Around the same time, the Library of Congress studied the relationship of gun control to crime in 27 foreign countries, and it concluded there was no relationship between gun restrictions and crime.

Even though Americans buy about 5 million new guns a year, the Nation's violent crime rate has dropped every year since 1991 and it is now at a 27-year low; that is, if you base the counts on crimes reported to the police and the FBI. If you base the counts on the National Crime Victimization surveys, however, the Nation's violent crime is at a 30-year low.

Based upon crimes reported to the police and FBI, the Nation's murder rates the last few years have been lower than any time since the mid-1960s.

So, the gun control supporters' motto, "More guns means more crime," is demonstrably false.

These statistics from around the country and around the world cannot be expected to alter the thinking of people who are ideologically opposed to private ownership of guns. However, ideology has been proven false by hard facts and should not dictate the policies under which the rest of us should live.

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