The District of Columbia is the only place in the country that refuses to abide by the constitutional mandate that individuals have the right to bear arms. The city is a playground for criminals because they know the law-abiding aren’t armed. This week, however, one bad guy picked the wrong woman.
On Tuesday at 6:30 a.m., an off-duty, female police officer was getting out of her car on 18th Street, S.E. when a man approached her.
Metropolitan Police Department Spokesman Gwendolyn Crump told me that 28-year-old Marcus Young of Southeast indicated that he had a weapon while reaching in his waistband. Mr. Young threatened the officer and tried to rob her.
The officer feared for her life, according to Ms. Crump, so she shot the suspect in the chest with her service weapon -- a Glock 17 in 9mm. The police will not identify the officer who joined the force last year.
Mr. Young was transported to a local hospital and treated for his injury. He was charged with assault with the intent to rob.
If I had shot a bad guy who said he had a gun and would kill me, the cops would have thrown me in jail. But since the police are allowed to carry off duty, the officer was placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard. The investigation is being handled by the police department's Internal Affairs Division.
However, the police took back the officer’s firearm. Ms. Crump told me this is “routine in Use of Force investigations.” Police sources say that is not accurate, and that the norm is for the officer's gun to be taken into custody for evidence, but the officer is given a replacement weapon.
While the specifics of this case are being investigated, the larger issue is that anyone else in this situation would not be able to defend him or herself because there are no carry rights.
For the full year in 2012, robberies with a gun in D.C. were up 18 percent and assaults with a gun increased 12 percent over 2011. So far this year, homicides are up 17 percent, assaults with a gun are up 5 percent and sexual assaults are up 2 percent.
The anti-gun groups and liberal media proclaim that allowing citizens to carry guns will lead to “Wild West shootouts.” That is only the case on TV and in Hollywood movies.
The number of concealed carry permit holders in the United States has risen dramatically in recent years, to over eight million today. At the same time, gun crime has fallen to half of what it was 20 years ago. This shows that, at minimum, law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms does not lead to more gun crimes.
At best, it shows that there is a deterrent factor in carry rights because the bad guys don’t know who might have a gun. This makes it more likely they will target people in cities like D.C., Chicago and New York City where the good guys are not armed.
In this case, the criminal just had the bad luck to target one of the armed 3,800 D.C. police out of a city of 600,000 residents. Perhaps his buddies will now think twice before threatening to kill another woman.
This summer, Illinois became the last state to legalize concealed carry rights after a federal appeals court ruled it is unconstitutional not to allow citizens to bear arms. This leaves the nation’s capital as the only place in America where you can’t carry a gun legally.
The D.C. city council has been adamant that it will not allow carry rights. The only way for the nation’s capital to abide by the Constitution is for either Congress, which has oversight of all laws, to require it in exchange for approving its bills or for the courts to rule on it.
No one should be a sitting duck on the dangerous streets of our nation’s capital.
Emily Miller is a senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).
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