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An up-close -- too up-close -- view of D.C. guns

   WASHINGTON -- The deep, abiding effectiveness of D.C.'s ban on handguns came clear to me on a winter's night 10 years ago when, as I walked home after a Syracuse-Georgetown game, two thugs jumped out from behind the bushes in front of me. One of them quickly pulled out a shiny silver pistol and aimed it at my chest and demanded my money, my watch, my coat and my eyeglasses.

   "Put that thing away!!!" I screamed. "DON'T YOU KNOW IT'S ILLEGAL???"

   Just kidding. In reality, I didn't say anything. I just gave them my money, my watch, my coat and my eyeglasses.

   I've viewed the D.C. handgun ban with a bit of a sense of bemusement ever since … but now it's clear the U.S. Supreme Court thinks even worse of it. The high court overturned the ban on Thursday, and in the process said, for the first time, that the Constitution's Second Amendment protects the right to
keep and bear arms.

   The ruling produced all the predictable harrumphing from interest groups on both sides of the issue, but ultimately it's likely to produce much more: a thorough, case-by-case legal review of gun control laws nationwide.

   Here in D.C., though, I find it interesting that the street where I got mugged -- known a decade ago as "urban pioneer territory" -- is now smack dab in the heart of the city's hottest neighborhood.

   Employment is up and and people are moving back into town, and it's been 18 years since we've had a mayor caught with crack.

   And crime, of course, is down from its levels of a decade ago --but I have to wonder: how much does the gun ban have to do with it?

   -- Jerry Zremski


Crime & Courts
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