City Desk

Hey Rand Paul, D.C. Would Only Have the Nation’s Highest Murder Rate If It Were a State

The unrepresented people of D.C. have a new member of Congress who's interested in running our local government: Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced an amendment Tuesday that would  repeal D.C.'s current semiautomatic handgun ban and gun registration requirements. The amendment was tacked on to the Senate's bipartisan Sportsmen Act, which, in part, would ease hunting and fishing restrictions on federal lands.

In the proposed legislation, Paul provides a rather misleading rationale to defend gutting D.C.'s gun laws, writing that people in D.C. deserve greater access to guns because the city suffers from the highest per capita murder rate.

"The District of Columbia has the highest per capita murder rate in the Nation, which may be attributed in part to local laws prohibitting posession of firearms by law-abiding person who would others be able to defend themselves and their loved ones in their own homes and businesses."

The problem: D.C. has the highest murder rate when compared to states, but not when compared to cities, which would be a much more apt comparison, since we're, you know, a city.

According to 2012 data from the FBI, D.C. has the highest murder rate per capita when compared to states, with a rate of 13.9 murders for every 100,000 residents. But when compared to cities that year, D.C. ranked only eighth-worst among U.S. cities with a population of at least 500,000 people. (That's bad, obviously, but it's not as bad as Paul wants us to think it is.) Paul's office didn't immediately reply to requests for comment.Non-voting D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton quickly issued a condemnation of Paul's legislation today, saying “Senator Paul, the tea party standard-bearer, seems to leave his small government, libertarian views at the District line when it comes to the District of Columbia."

“Based on his support for reducing the power of the federal government and devolving that power to states and local governments, including his visit to Howard University last year where he discussed the war on drugs, we had hoped he might be an ally in keeping Congress out of D.C.’s local affairs," Norton wrote in a statement.

As Norton noted, Paul is credited with sinking legislation in 2012 that would have granted D.C. greater budget autonomy. Paul introduced amendments to the bipartisan bill that would have considerably eased gun laws in the city and banned federal funding for D.C. abortions.

The District's strict gun laws have been challenged by Paul and others in the past, but a federal judge ruled in May that D.C.'s current laws are constitutional. Paul's bill would also remove the criminal penalty for carrying a gun outside of one's home.

The Senate has voted to move forward with voting on the Sportsmen Act, but a number of controversial amendments introduced, including Paul's, could kill the whole thing, according to Politico.

Photo by Talk Radio News Service via Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Eighty

    So, I guess I'll report the pothole near my street to Sen. Paul's office. He cares so deeply about local affairs, he's sure to make sure something gets done. I encourage everybody else to report minor issues to his office as well.

  • TKay

    Murder rates in DC are at about their lowest point in 50 years. Rates are a small fraction of what they were 20 years ago. Why would anyone want to reverse the progress?

  • Typical DC BS

    Guess CP has forgotten the DC handgun ban was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? Just like the ban in Chicago?

    Please, try to get the facts straight.

  • jack adams

    Congress is empowered by Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as established by land ceded by any State to become the nation’s capital. If people want to change the Constitution, or cede the District back to Maryland, or move the capital to a different location, that can all be done, but Congress has given too much power to a City Council, never contemplated by the Founders. What Congress needs to do is go back to governing the city directly, get rid of the City Council and most of the other worthless agencies and the nincompoops who run them. If people who live here don’t like it, then change the Constitution or leave to live in a State instead of the Capital City of the Nation.

  • pachamama

    "...people in D.C. deserve greater access to guns because the city suffers from the highest per-capita murder rate."

    So...allowing them to carry semi-automatic weapons would improve this situation how? More gun fights and deaths???

    Senator Rand Paul needs to STFU about our gun laws. If the US is, as purported, a democracy, then it's the right of we, the people of DC to decide how to end gun violence in our city.

    Oh -- I forgot -- DC residents aren't entitled to self-government. So much for democracy....

  • Typical DC BS

    No pachamama, your liberal lunacy is the CAUSE of the gun violence in DC. As most low intelligence Dumocrats can't understand the RIGHT to defend yourself and have disarmed the honest citizens, which leads to the crooks being the ONLY ones armed, you fail to understand the violence level is directly attributed to your moronic way of thinking.
    If you don't want to own guns, fine. DON'T. Stay out of other people's business who don't want to be victims.

  • john adams

    Congress is empowered by Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as established by land ceded by any State to become the nation’s capital. If people want to change the Constitution, or cede the District back to Maryland just like the Alexandria part of DC was given back to Virginia, or move the capital to a different location, that can all be done, but Congress has given too much power to a City Council which was never contemplated by the Founders. What Congress needs to do is go back to governing the city directly, get rid of the City Council ( at least the ones who aren't in jail) and most of the other worthless agencies. If people who live here don’t like it, then change the Constitution or leave to live in a State instead of the Capital City of the Nation where the Founders gave the residents only those rights the Congress grants them.

  • David Evans

    Hey stupid contard, guns do not make people safe. It depends on quite a number of factors. For example, in certain areas it is better to allow open carry, while in others it is better to concealed carry. Why? In some areas, having a gun makes you a target. And so it is better no one knows who is armed or not. However, our laws are not set by the reality/actually on the ground, you know the conditions people are likely to encounter, they are set by retards like you and libtards that don't care about about gun violence, jailing innocent people and just support general stupidity. Then you want to argue about "rights" as you shit on people.

...