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Posted at 7:36 PM ET, 02/25/2010

D.C. doesn't need more guns on the streets

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Andy Feeney
Washington

Although I detest his politics, I feel a grudging sympathy for Tom G. Palmer, the gay Cato Institute staffer who last year joined the successful lawsuit to overturn the District’s ban on handgun ownership [“D.C. handgun ban plaintiff takes a new shot,” Metro, Feb. 21].

According to the story on Mr. Palmer’s new effort to legalize the carrying of handguns inside city limits, his possession of a handgun may have saved his life on one occasion when two apparent homophobes seemed about to assault Mr. Palmer and a straight companion. Simply by displaying his handgun to the would-be gay-bashers, Mr. Palmer reportedly forced his attackers to back down. It’s understandable that he would like to be able to do this again.

Yet I wonder what Mr. Palmer will do if his new lawsuit succeeds, and it gives violent gay-bashers, too, the right to legally carry loaded handguns in the streets. The next time Mr. Palmer is walking with a male companion down a dark street in a dodgy neighborhood, will his attackers simply shoot both of them on sight, rather than attempting the more cumbersome route of assaulting them with fists or feet?

I also fear the effect on my Mount Pleasant neighborhood, where we already experience teenage gang members firing at one another with illegal handguns. The notion that convenience-store owners confronted by armed robbers might now also be armed, and firing back, isn’t reassuring to those of us who could get caught in the crossfire.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | February 25, 2010; 7:36 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, guns  
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Comments

This "aagh caught in the crossfire!" nonsense comes up every time and in every place that contemplates not interfering with its citizens right to self-defense. It never comes true. We haven't had a problem with it in Virginia.

This is extra funny when you consider that D.C. residents usually mock Virginians (particularly VA's gun owners) as ignorant rednecks. Come on now, you're not saying that D.C.'s sophisticated urbanites can't handle something that us dumb hicks can, are you?

Posted by: EnjoyEverySandwich | February 26, 2010 5:42 AM | Report abuse

The fatherless hordes of dead-eyed, soulless marauding murderers (and mindlessly violent gay bashers, for that matter) don't obey gun laws, Mr. Feeney. They're already armed to the teeth.

As a law-abiding, homeowning, taxpaying, decorated civilian hero living in a dicey Northeast neighborhood, I want to be able to exercise my Second Amendment right to fight fire with fire. If a few thousand guys and gals like me, with steady hands and nerves, were suddenly known to be circulating throughout our city with concealed firearms, the criminal class would begin to think twice about preying on innocent victims.

As for the criminals not bright enough to think twice, quick bullets between the eyes would begin to thin their herd and free society from the burden they've imposed for decades. The only thing to fear, Mr. Feeney, is your fear itself.

Posted by: mckdarrenDC | February 26, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

I didn't know that anyone in D.C. who already had no compunction about committing a crime, like beating up gays or shooting at rival gang members, was somehow careful about not violating gun laws. Who knew? Mr. Feeney isn't "reassured" about the prospect of armed store owners firing back against armed robbers? I wonder how "reassured" the robbers would feel if they met a store owner's .45 in their face? Get real, Mr. Feeney--the only people currently armed in the streets of D.C. besides cops are crooks, and they already pose a risk to you. Don't you think it's about time you posed risk to THEM instead?

Posted by: jwebb41 | February 26, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Do you seriously think thugs (whatever their agenda) care about gun laws? DC and MD have the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet some of the highest levels of gun violence.

All I want is an opportunity for law-abiding citizens to level the playing field by getting CCW permits.

The process for obtaining such permits would exclude and weed out the thugs who already carry illegal firearms.

Remember, they are criminals. They don't care about the law.

Posted by: Hk45 | February 26, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

An armed society is a polite society. If you live in a secure gated community as I'm sure Mr. Sweeny does, well its easy to be dismissive of defending oneself. Criminal pray on the weak and seemingly defenseless...knowing they might end up capped the next time they try to rob grandma will surely dissuade a few.

Posted by: luca_20009 | February 26, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Andy, scared little right-wingers never think that far ahead. They're dealing with residual emotional issues, not public policy. Reason has nothing to do with it. Look at Wayne LaPierre.

Posted by: SydneyP | February 26, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Why do men seek the power of life-and-death over others? Is it fear or the thrill of power? Is it a fetish or a sexual plumage? Do cowboy boots make you look bigger?

-----------
30,000 Americans die every year from gunshots. What would public policy be if every state in the union had the equivalent of two commercial jet crashes every single year?

Posted by: rowens1 | February 26, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Here's a clue:

Convenience store owners have ALWAYS been able to be legally armed in DC. Even during the handgun ban. And the law even allowed those store owners to keep their guns (gasp) LOADED, while residents could NOT keep loaded guns in their own homes.

Posted by: k_romulus | February 26, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Well Andy-keep up your drivel! Maybe you can convince the illegal handgun owners (criminals) to turn their guns in too! We can all get together and kiss and hug too! Nobody will ever hurt anyone else ever again; imagine all the people Andy!

Let's try an experiment for you all knowing progressive hugfest people:

Put two liquor stores on opposite corners in a sketchy but up and coming neighborhood , I'll run one with signs saying "this store protected by Smith & Wesson" and Andy can run the other with signs saying "the second amendment is not a God given right"

Which store makes more money?

Posted by: civilrightist | February 26, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand how a civilian carrying a concealed handgun deters gun violence. Lets think of one of the more common mugging scenarios in DC (based on my friends and acquaintances who have been mugged):
I am walking down the street with my 9mm in a holster under my arm. A man approaches me from behind and beats me over the head with something hard until I stop moving. He then takes my gun and wallet.
Result: I lose my gun and still get mugged.

Lets consider another scenario:
I am about to get into my car and a mugger approaches me with a gun drawn. Do I go for my gun? In order for me to get to my gun and fight off the mugger, I will have to reach into wherever I have my gun and produce it before the mugger realizes that I intend to harm him and he shoots me as a result...this doesn't seem likely to succeed.

In order to be effective against gun violence, I need to have my gun at the ready at all times...in my hand...ready to go. In fact, I'll aim it at everyone who scares me while I walk down the street just to let them know that they shouldn't mess with me.

Will a would be attacker really think twice if people have guns? In december 2008, two men were shot in Adams Morgan 30ft from police officers...30 ft is not a long way. If you are going to be deterred by someone with a gun, a trained professional would likely be a deterrent...but it turns out they weren't in that case.

And lastly, given the horrible decisions I have seen people make while driving or in other stressful situations, I shutter to think mistakes untrained people with guns would commit.

Guns are dangerous and frequently kill people. People make bad decisions in stressful situations. People with guns in stressful situations make bad decisions and people die.

Lets think of another scenario. I'm going to get mugged...I have no gun on me so there is no threat to the mugger...all he/she wants is my money and valuables. I might get punched or beaten, but I likely won't get shot because there is no reason for the mugger to take the attack to that level...in fact, it is greatly to the mugger's benefit to not take it to that level because that means more time in jail.

Now, if I pull a gun, the mugger is in danger. They have every reason to think that I will attack them. So, they are much more likely to shoot me...which is not the goal of the would be victim.

Lets not live in a fantasy world where we are a society of Jack Bauers or Dirty Harrys running around fighting off bad guys and respecting each other because of everyone's potential to kill each other at a moment's notice. The best way to stop gun violence is to prevent people from carrying or owning hand guns.

Posted by: bigbadbri | February 26, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

bigbadbri: You are hilarious. Are you extremely uncoordinated or not capable of making a decision to fight, flight or surrender? I surmise that you have never owned or even held a weapon. If you had, you would know concealed carry permit holders are trained with weapons that they have purchased and maintained.


You go on to write "The best way to stop gun violence is to prevent people from carrying or owning hand guns. "

How is your fantasy land you ninny? good luck getting those 90 million guns back;

When you are getting mugged next time tell those crooks "Thank You and may I please have another!"

You are gross coddled nincompoop that should have his/her first amendment rights revoked for being absurd enough to want to revoke my second amendment rights-LOSER

Posted by: civilrightist | February 26, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Civilrightist: you didn't respond to my argument with a counter argument. Please explain how everyone having guns prevents violence and back it up with statistics.

Posted by: bigbadbri | February 26, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Is Mr. Feeney serious when he suggests that the danger a crossfire between honest citizens and thugs is justification for banning handguns? If Mr. Feeney is truly the kind of gutless coward that believes people should quietly acquiesce to the predators in our society, he should be willing to not only call for a ban on handguns, but bear the responsibility for empowering and inciting the worst elements in our society. Plainly he's more interested in supporting the scum of society than being a contributing member.

Posted by: nate68 | February 26, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

It amazes me that in Mr. Feeney's (presumably homosexual) world, the personal safety of the shopkeeper gets not one iota of concern whatsoever. Shopkeepers are merely an expenadable item for thugs to viciously plunder. I am also assuming that Feeney is a liberal in which case the loss of a Jewish or Korean shopkeeper is like stepping on a roach to him.

Posted by: RJFried | February 26, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

bigbadbri: Check any source you want. Maryland population (2005) 5,600,388; violent crimes 678.6....Virginia population (2005) 7,567,465; violent crimes 282.

Since you are uninformed; let me point out that Virginia is a "shall carry" state meaning you will be issued a concealed carry permit provided you meet the requirements. Maryland is a "may issue" state-you cannot get a carry permit without having a need as defined and modified by the state; essentially a no carry state.

Now, these states are in the same general geographic area and both have major cities Balt 637K, Richmond 200k and VA Beach/Norfolk 234k, Va Beach 433k.
WTF is the difference? Concealed carry; ask any criminal in DC where he would prefer to rape, rob and murder MD or VA.

Posted by: civilrightist | February 26, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not "bigbadbri" is very big, we can safely assume he's not very bad. If he were, he and his friends wouldn't be getting mugged all the time.

In any case, Bri, it's not simply the fact that law-abiding folks would be "carrying" guns that would serve to tamp down the threat posed by fatherless thugs. It would be the actual "use" in self-defense of such guns, resulting in several well-publicized killings and/or maimings of thugs that would quickly influence behavior patterns among surviving thugs.

And though you and your effeminate friends may not be up to the physical and emotional demands of High-Noon shootouts with soulless killers, there are nonetheless many fit, courageous and capable fellow citizens -- men and women -- who are. So please gather the children and clear the streets. We'll take it from here, thanks.

Posted by: mckdarrenDC | February 26, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

civilrightist: In Virginia, concealed carry permit holders are not necessarily "trained" to operate the guns they own. There is absolutely no requirement in Virginia that you have to have TOUCHED a handgun, much less fired one, before they will grant you a concealed handgun permit. (The law changed July 1 -- now, anyone can meet the training requirement by taking a 1-hour online course and answering 15 true/false and multiple choice questions correction.) http://www.roanoke.com/columnists/casey/wb/217144

Posted by: PermitHolder | February 27, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

bigbadbri - check this little story from Orlando. We have over 786,000 people who can pack heat down here - that does not include visitors from 34 other states - including Virginia:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-bk-death-investigation-orange-072509,0,5201621.story

Orange County man shoots, kills suspect who tried to rob him

Anika Myers Palm and Susan Jacobson
Sentinel Staff Writers
9:34 PM EDT, July 25, 2009

An Orlando man turned the tables on two men he thought planned to rob him early Saturday, shooting one dead and holding the other for authorities, deputies said.

Miguel Jimenez, 56, told deputies he noticed two men waiting near his apartment at the Villa Tuscany complex on Sherwood Terrace Drive in west Orange County as he arrived home a little after midnight.

As he walked toward his apartment, one of the men pointed a handgun at Jimenez, who drew his own gun and fired, striking and killing Andri Benjamin, 18, who dropped his gun when he fell.

The second man approached Jimenez, who held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived. He was not arrested.

Neighbors said they heard two or three gunshots. One couple said they opened their door and saw a man lying in a pool of blood with another man standing over him holding a gun. They applauded Jimenez's actions but said they now feel uneasy about living at the complex.

Investigators plan to forward information on the shooting to the Sheriff's Office, but so far they don't think Jimenez did anything wrong. He has a concealed-weapons permit, they said.

"At this point, we believe he acted within the law," said Capt. Angelo Nieves, a sheriff's spokesman.

Just imagine this going down regularly in Trinidad....

Posted by: GHF_LRLTD | February 27, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

bigbadbri: With training you would learn to tell a possible attacker to STOP!! This turns an innocent encounter into a strange look or escalates the attack that was going to happen anyway. You however, would have changed gears from yellow to red at the same time. I do not allow anyone inside a 21' personal zone without scrutiny. NO ONE would be allowed to approach from behind after dark for any reason. All you have to do is stop, turn and allow the person to walk past. If they have bad intentions, be ready.
BTW, I can draw and fire from concealment in less than 2 seconds. That round will be where I aimed, not off into space. There will be no crossfire. Right now you have the one way fire from the thugs and don't seem to be worried, be thankful there are sheepdogs in your life.

Posted by: snaaden | February 27, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"D.C. doesn't need
more guns on the streets

By Andy Feeney
Washington"

I disagree. "An armed society is a polite society". - Robert A. Heinlein

And, I suspect, Mr. Heinlein spent more of his time considering the threats Government poses to Liberty than have you, Mr. Feeney.

Posted by: liberty_rocks | February 27, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Civilrightist: you didn't respond to my argument with a counter argument. Please explain how everyone having guns prevents violence and back it up with statistics.

Posted by: bigbadbri

"An armed society is a polite society" = Robert A. Heinlein.

I would mention Kennesaw, GA, since that city mandates all home owners own a firearm and the crime rate remains among the lowest in Georgia.

The statistics you are asking for (not that I believe for a second you are open minded enough to appreciate them). http://www.johnlott.org/

Posted by: liberty_rocks | February 27, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Yes DC does need "more" guns on the street,carried by honest citizens trained and armed with a concealed carry license.

Posted by: fcs25 | February 27, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse


Yes God forbid someone would want to protect themselves in a local where the POLICE CANNOT PROTECT YOU. I only wish I had been carrying when i got carjacked in DC as There would be 3 dead Worthless "thugs".

Posted by: knepp023 | March 1, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"bigbadbri":

In your strawmen examples, undoubtedly specifically crafted by you to make your predetermined point, the situations ignore a number of things.

For instance, I refer you (and others) to the writings of Jeff Cooper. Simply put, when carrying concealed (or openly), you must also expand your attention and take more careful note of your surroundings. This is called "condition yellow." Wandering around oblivious to one's surroundings is "condition white" and inexcusable for someone who is armed.

So your examples are refuted by two rather simple facts.

1) The conscientiously armed citizen isn't going to let a bad guy get the drop on him in the first place. He's going to notice the suspicious guy crossing the street to meet him and first act to avoid the encounter and next to prepare to draw down;

2) Assuming a mugger is going to either attack someone he knows to be armed OR has a reason to belive might be armed is to ignore the reality behind such things in the first place. Crooks attack people who they perceive to be helpless to resist them. Concealed carry introduces an unknown variable into the equation, dissuading crooks at the margin and making us all safer as a result...even anti-gun shills.

You're welcome.

Posted by: Goaltender66 | March 3, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Speaking to the original article, he writes:

"...his possession of a handgun may have saved his life on one occasion when two apparent homophobes seemed about to assault Mr. Palmer and a straight companion. Simply by displaying his handgun to the would-be gay-bashers, Mr. Palmer reportedly forced his attackers to back down. It’s understandable that he would like to be able to do this again.

Yet I wonder what Mr. Palmer will do if his new lawsuit succeeds, and it gives violent gay-bashers, too, the right to legally carry loaded handguns in the streets."

Yes, because two guys bent on the violent assault of an innocent person likely thought to themselves "Heck, I'm more than happy to disregard all of the laws against beating an innocent person to death, but DAMNED if I'm going to cross that gun ban law! That's harsh, man."


Puh-leeze. As has been pointed out earlier, thinking criminals are going to abide by gun bans is kind of like thinking that voting for a smooth talker will effect Hope and Change.

The capper:

"The notion that convenience-store owners confronted by armed robbers might now also be armed, and firing back, isn’t reassuring to those of us who could get caught in the crossfire."

In other words, it serves the greater good for a crook to shoot and kill a convenience store clerk rather than the clerk defend himself during which someone "could" get caught in the crossfire.

A utilitarian argument is probably the worst one you can make. It ignores the concept of rights. For example, the utilitarian would tell me, Mr. Feeney, that there are 12 people on the organ donor list waiting for hearts, livers, etc. It serves the greater good for us to cut you up and distribute the organs to those 12 people. But we don't countenance that because it violates your rights. Similarly, expecting someone to willingly get shot rather than incur the mere *possibility* of someone else getting shot also violates one's rights. It's a non-starter and, frankly, for someone who appears to profess to care about innocent people, is certainly cynical.

Posted by: Goaltender66 | March 3, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The old blood int he streets argument; please explain why this never comes true?

It is lie every time anti gun folks try and use it, over and over again they are proven wrong but to them it is an emotional argument not a rational one.

Posted by: flonzy3 | March 8, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

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