Around the same time, a serial rapist started attacking women in our neighborhood, including two women who lived within a block of my house. And even though I still owned a gun, I couldn't legally keep it nearby to protect myself. Police eventually caught the rapist, a teenager armed with a knife, but all of us in the neighborhood lived in fear for the weeks he was preying on victims.
Then, two years ago, I was again living in D.C. on Capitol Hill when I heard an awful racket through the walls of my townhouse. It sounded as if someone was being thrown down the stairs, with men shouting and doors slamming. When my husband rushed outside to see what was happening, he found our young neighbor visibly shaken. He had come home to find a man in his upstairs hallway, obviously burglarizing the house. Again, I wished I had my gun in D.C., but bringing it into the city would have made me a criminal.
These incidents were all near misses. Many other D.C. residents haven't been as lucky. They fall victim to violent crimes in their homes yet can't do anything to defend themselves.
The D.C. gun ban never made a dent in the city's gun crime; it still ranks among the most dangerous places in America. At least now, the Supreme Court has acknowledged the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect their own lives when the police can't.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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