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More weaselly words...

The press release below came out from the Mayor's office the week before last, on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the D.C. gun ban (District of Columbia vs. Heller).

There is some sneaky speaking in here: language to create a false linkage as pernicious as the weasel phrase "womb to tomb". Notice how I share Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's frustration with today's ruling by the United States Supreme Court striking down a Washington D.C. law banning handgun ownership plows right into The flow of illegal handguns into cities has helped fuel violence across the country. The Heller case wasn't about illegal guns. It was about legal guns. His Honor's press release wants to tie these two things together: People wanting to lawfully possess a handgun == illegal handguns fueling violence.

The illegal handguns the Mayor refers to have always been illegal and remain illegal. The staggering majority of crime guns are stolen, or bought under false pretenses (e.g. by a 'straw' buyer, who resells the gun illegally). Felons could not lawfully possesses firearms before D.C. vs. Heller, and they still can't. This is a fact that the Mayor recognizes: ...[T]he Supreme Court Justices clearly stated that the right to own a firearm is not absolute and government has a right to prevent handguns from being sold and trafficked to those who should not own them.

I think that this false equation of lawful gun ownership with street violence is shameful. A citizen who decides that they need a gun for self protection is doing so because they think that the state cannot protect them. Not only are there nowhere near enough Police to do the job, the courts have held that Police are not obligated to protect individual citizens from criminals, no matter what words are emblazed on the doors of their patrol cars.[1][2][3] The decision to keep a gun in the house is a response to crime. Criminals have no problem obtaining guns illegally due to underfunded enforcement of our existing gun laws. Our criminal justice system is as "under resourced" as our highways. Thus, I think that seeking to deny a citizen the ability to "DIY" their own protection (while declaiming responsibility to provide that protection), and then equating it with street crime is a literal case of adding insult to injury.

IMO, civic leaders should not be able to have it both ways. Therefore, on reading this press release, I cried foul!

From: Barr, Sarah
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 4:42 PM
To: Barr, Sarah
Subject: City of Hartford comments on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling regarding handgun ownership




STATEMENT FROM MAYOR PEREZ ON U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER


(June 26, 2008)--- “I share Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s frustration with today’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court striking down a Washington D.C. law banning handgun ownership.  The flow of illegal handguns into cities has helped fuel violence across the country.  However, it was a positive development that the Supreme Court Justices clearly stated that the right to own a firearm is not absolute and government has a right to prevent handguns from being sold and trafficked to those who should not own them.  Furthermore, the Court upheld that guns could continue to be prohibited from sensitive areas such as schools and daycares.  The City of Hartford will continue to enforce its ordinance holding gun owners civilly liable when they fail to report a firearm stolen within 72 hours and that firearm is used in a felony in Hartford.  Additionally, we look forward to continuing to work with the ATF and State Police to continue pursuing those who attempt to illegally use and sell guns in the in the City of Hartford.”

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