Fox Can't Keep Story Straight On D.C. Gun Laws

There is no debating that Washington D.C.'s laws include some of the most extensive anti-gun violence regulations in the United States. Since the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller overturned the city's ban on handguns, right-wing media figures and the gun lobby have complained that the law is still too restrictive. So restrictive that Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller told that “they are stopping the law-abiding people from getting guns to protect themselves.”

But two recent segments on Fox News demonstrate the gun lobby's media allies can't get their story straight. If they're complaining about the current gun laws, then D.C.'s laws are terrible and it's practically impossible for the law-abiding to get guns to protect themselves. If they're looking to criticize the pre-Heller gun ban then suddenly it's time to start talking about how D.C.'s violent crime has improved since the gun ban ended, presumably because people can get guns to protect themselves. The complaints about the "worst" guns laws in the nation suddenly disappear when the topic changes.

In a February 25 segment Fox hosted Miller, who complained that D.C. has the “worst laws in the country in terms of getting a legal gun.” Miller cited rising crime rates from the first two months of 2012 in the city as a reason to own a gun.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when Fox moved on to talking about falling D.C. murder rates post-Heller in a William La Jeunesse segment featuring long discredited researcher John Lott.

Lott cited the “huge drop” and suggested this is because “letting people be able to go and defend themselves helps deter criminals from attacking”:

As noted by Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center David Hemenway, "many factors" are related to high crime rates in urban areas such as D.C. and Chicago. Many categories of violent crime had drastically fallen in D.C. in the years before the gun ban was overturned. In D.C. few residents have registered guns with the city and even fewer have done so in high-crime neighborhoods. There's little reason to expect to find meaningful conclusions by solely looking at violent crime rates over a small span of years since the gun ban was undone.