Marco Rubio said something that every guns right advocate says when confronted with the very idea of gun control or gun laws. That statement is to bring up Washington, D.C. Marco Rubio said," Washington, D.C. had some of the strictest gun laws in the country. And when they passed them, violence skyrocketed." If you would have listened to National Public Radio on the day Barack Obama announced his gun control objectives, then you would have heard a spirited debate between two people on opposite sides of the gun issue. The gun rights speaker was quick to bring up Washington, D.C. among others. Usually gun rights people like to talk about Chicago, too. But we'll focus on D.C. for this because so did PolitiFact.
Oh hey, we figured out how to do jump breaks!
A quick history. In 1976 the law for guns in D.C. was that all guns had to be registered, new handguns were banned, and guns had at home had to be disassembled or locked up. The handgun ban was invalidated in 2007 by federal courts. This decision was affirmed in 2008 in D.C. v. Heller. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that argued against gun bans. Shapiro wrote The gun ban had an unintended effect: It emboldened criminals because they knew that law-abiding District residents were unarmed and powerless to defend themselves. Violent crime increased after the law was enacted, with homicides rising to 369 in 1988, from 188 in 1976 when the ban started. By 1993, annual homicides had reached 454. Oh, well, when you put it that way, of course gun bans don't work!
But, to quote Lee Corso (I hate myself), not so fast, my friend. Here are the violent crimes in Washington, D.C. from 1970-2010. The ban was enacted in 1976 and homicides were at 188 like Shapiro stated. In 1975, homicides were at 235. But if we look at the numbers, we'll see that homicides fluctuated. In 1985, for instance, the number of homicides was at 147. It skyrocketed the next few years, reaching 369 in 1988 and reached its peak of 482 in 1991. It has, for the most part, steadily declined. A similar trend happened at the same time in the United States. According to PolitiFact, the early 1980s crime rate has been attributed by some experts to the age of the baby boomers generation hitting their 20s. As you age, you tend to commit less crime. Hence, why the rate lowered. Other experts attributed the crime rate fluctuations to Roe v. Wade (the Donohue-Leavitt hypothesis) or lead in the environment.
Is there more? There's another study. According to this study, the gun law ban saved an average of 47 lives per year. Also, the gun ban coincided with an abrupt decline not found in the cities they compared it to. There were also not an increase in suicides or homicides that didn't use guns. Much to the dismay of those who claim that if you ban guns people will just get killed other ways.
But, oh well. Gun bans don't work. Just look at Washington, D.C., right?