Cam Edwards
Pity the residents of Washington, D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey has declared a “crime emergency” in the District, in part because of the 14 homicides that have been reported during the past 12 days. In addition, armed robbery is up 14% over this time last year. No portion of the city is safe. A British man had his throat slit in upscale Georgetown. A family of four was robbed at gunpoint in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

Of course, none of these victims have been able to defend themselves. While 40 states now have “Shall Issue” concealed carry laws, Washington D.C. residents and visitors can’t even own a gun for their own protection, much less carry a concealed pistol in order to protect themselves or their loved ones.

Blogger Jeff Soyer from www.alphecca.com reported that at a recent community meeting in Georgetown a resident asked a City Council member when the District would recognize the 2nd amendment. The response was to tell people to carry a whistle that they could blow when they’re attacked. Can you just imagine the Disney song that this could inspire?

Whistle while you’re mugged
Put on that grin while they begin
To take away your life
Just hum a merry tune
While your blood loss makes you swoon
Just close your eyes and say goodbye
To your children and your wife

Catchy, isn’t it? Unfortunately, blowing a whistle won’t save your life. Staying out of D.C. might.
And if you’re looking for a new vacation destination, might I recommend Florida? The state has seen its crime rate decline for the past 14 years, and right now the crime rate is the lowest its been since 1971. There is, of course, one big difference between Florida and Washington, D.C. Governor Jeb Bush gets it, telling reporters this week, “Law abiding citizens that have guns for protection actually probably are part of the reason we have a lower crime rate.”
Last year, you’ll remember, Florida enacted the “Castle Doctrine”. That law states you have a right to stand your ground and defend yourself against an attack anywhere you have a legal right to be. After passage of the law, anti-gun groups like the Brady Campaign went on the offensive. They ran newspaper ads and handed out flyers to tourists in the Sunshine State, warning tourists to “avoid disputes” and “use special caution in arguing with motorists”. So what’s the Brady Campaign’s response to Florida’s continued drop in crime?
Paul Helmke, the new President of the Brady Campaign, issued a press release statement yesterday stating, “According to FBI figures, in 2004 Florida had the second highest violent crime rate of any state in the Nation. Only South Carolina, also with weak gun laws, was more violent. The Governor’s own figures show that the raw number of violent crimes in Florida actually increased in 2005, while its violent crime rate (crimes per 100,000 people) dropped only slightly last year. Florida has a higher violent crime rate than New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, all of which have strong gun laws.”
He’s right, but it’s what Helmke doesn’t say that’s really interesting. It is true that in 2004 Florida’s crime rate was the second highest among all states, at 711.3 per 100,000 residents. It is true that South Carolina was higher, with a violent crime rate of 784.2 per 100,000 residents. What Helmke doesn’t say is that Washington, D.C. is also counted in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics. Washington, D.C.’s violent crime rate in 2004 was nearly double that of Florida’s, at 1371.2 violent crimes per 100,000 people. I wonder why the Brady Campaign thought that was irrelevant.
Helmke says Florida’s violent crime rate is higher than New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. What he doesn’t say is that California and Illinois (home to a lot of gun control laws) also have higher crime rates than New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. What he doesn’t say is that states like Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, and Kentucky (places with good or great gun laws) all have lower violent crime rates than New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Again, I wonder why that’s irrelevant.
Helmke went on to say, “Explaining and understanding increases or decreases in crime is always difficult. To argue that putting guns into our communities leads to a reduction in crime makes no sense.” Actually, it makes a lot more sense than looking at Washington, D.C.’s crime rate and insisting that gun control works.


Cam Edwards

Cam Edwards is the host of “Cam and Company” on www.nranews.com

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