NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 17, 2006

The District is among the major U.S. cities with the highest percentage of people killed by firearms, despite having one of the strictest gun-control laws in the country, says the Washington Times.

  • A recent Metropolitan Police Department report on homicides from 2001 to 2005 states that 901 of 1,126 homicide victims, or about 80 percent, were fatally shot.
  • Firearms last year alone were used to commit 157 of the District's 196 homicides, or about 80 percent.
  • That percentage has remained relatively consistent since 2001, when a five-year low of 78.4 percent of homicides were committed using guns.
  • FBI crime statistics for 2005 show 10,100 of the country's 14,860 homicide victims, or 68 percent, were killed by guns.

The District's percentage of gun homicides is comparable to those in other big cities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics:

  • In 2004, the last year for which comprehensive statistics were available, the 79.3 percent of homicides involving guns in the District was higher than the 61.1 percent in New York; Chicago reported 75.2 percent, and Baltimore had 77.5 percent.
  • Atlanta had a significantly lower percentage of gun homicides than the District, 73.2 percent, despite less-restrictive gun laws; in Georgia, gun owners are not required to obtain a license or a permit, there is no waiting period to buy a handgun and no background check for second-party sales.
  • The District did have a lower percentage of gun homicides than New Orleans at 92 percent, Los Angeles at 80.9 percent and Detroit at 80.5 percent.

D.C. law restricts ownership of most guns that were not registered before 1977.  Privately owned rifles and shotguns must be kept at home and stored unloaded, disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or a similar device.

Source: Matthew Cella, "District slayings usually with gun," Washington Times, November 17, 2006.


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