Supreme Court Prepares to Hear DC Gun Case as National Support for Banning Handguns Hits 59 Percent

District's Law Necessary to Protect DC Residents, First Responders

Violence Policy Center Warns

Mar 17, 2008, 01:00 ET from Violence Policy Center

    WASHINGTON, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Just two days after a
 new Washington Post national poll
 0072.html?sid=ST2008031502430) found that 59 percent of the American public
 supports restrictions identical to Washington, DC's gun laws -- which ban
 handgun possession and require that legally possessed rifles and shotguns
 be either disassembled or secured with a trigger lock -- the U.S. Supreme
 Court is scheduled tomorrow to hear oral arguments in a case challenging
 DC's handgun ban, District of Columbia v. Heller.
     Reiterating the findings contained in its amicus brief (see filed in the case, the Violence Policy
 Center (VPC) warned that increasingly lethal handguns being marketed by the
 gun industry -- ranging from high-capacity semiautomatic handguns to
 next-generation assault pistols based on AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles --
 make the handgun ban today even more of a necessity to protect first
 responders and citizens in the nation's capital than when it was first
 enacted in 1976. The VPC's brief also explains how even pro-gun experts
 recognize that handguns are not well-suited for self-defense. In addition,
 because of its low gun ownership rates (only five percent of DC homes have
 firearms), the District of Columbia routinely has one of the lowest gun
 suicide rates and lowest overall suicide rates in the nation. In
 comparison, the states with the top gun suicide and overall suicide rates
 are states with high levels of gun ownership and weak gun laws such as
 Alaska and Montana. Data have consistently shown that states with the
 highest rates of gun ownership also have the highest gun death rates.
     In urging the Court to retain the DC ban, VPC Legislative Director
 Kristen Rand states, "The DC handgun ban is supported by a wide array of
 mainstream American institutions. In comparison, a significant number of
 those who oppose it have gun industry or gun lobby ties. In a year that has
 been defined by mass shootings -- from Virginia Tech to Northern Illinois
 University, from a Nebraska shopping mall to an Illinois Lane Bryant store
 -- the Court should be affirming, not denying, policymakers the tools they
 need to reduce gun death and injury." (For a side-by-side comparison of
 amici see
     The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization
 working to stop gun death and injury in America. For more information,
 please visit

SOURCE Violence Policy Center