Two separate attacks by gunmen believed to have assault-style weapons left 9 people shot and two dead in less than 30 minutes Thursday night in Washington, D.C., which prides itself as bastion of strict control gun laws.
Police do not believe the two shootings were related. In one of the attacks, two men armed with what were believed to be AK-47s shot into an apartment courtyard, killing one man and wounding five others, one critically. The other incident involved a man in a pickup truck with a mask and gloves who shot two men and one woman, with one of the victims ultimately dying at an area hospital.
No suspects have yet been caught, and police have asked citizens to come forward with information. The apartment shooting may have been gang-related, as some of the victims were known members of a local crew and had previous weapons offenses.
A handgun was also found at the scene of the apartment shooting, though police do not believe it was involved in the attack.
Strict controls already in place
If gun control truly prevented this sort of violence, Washington, D.C. should be the last place anyone would ever be harmed in a shooting. So-called assault weapons are banned there, as are high capacity magazines.
There is a 10-day waiting period for handgun purchases in D.C., and guns must be licensed. Fully private gun sales are banned, and purchases are limited to one handgun per month.
The licensing process in D.C. includes a background check and registration of the gun, and sales themselves are strictly regulated. In short, D.C. has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country, including some of the provisions many Democrats in Congress are currently attempting to impose on the entire country.
So why haven’t all these gun laws made D.C. any safer when it comes to gun violence?
Gun deaths continue to rise
So far this year, 125 people have died in shootings in Washington, D.C. That represents a 17% increase over last year. Certainly, D.C. is no Chicago. But if gun control was an effective way to lessen the frequency of mass shootings and gun deaths, certainly the number of gun-related fatalities in D.C. should be much closer to zero.
Here’s the problem: there are lots of guns flooding into D.C. that bypass all of the background checks and licensing requirements. Criminals bring illegal guns into D.C. in much higher than average numbers, according to data from the Giffords Law Center.
This goes a long way toward explaining why there are still alarmingly high numbers of shootings in D.C., despite its leaders having implemented all the gun control laws a progressive politician could ever want.
Once again, it is clear that additional gun control laws will not fix the gun violence problem, because most of these tragedies are caused by criminals who, by definition, pay little attention to what the language of the law compels.