In response to the D.C. District Court’s ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia — which invalidated the District’s ban on the carrying of handguns outside the home for lawful self-defense — the D.C. Council has proposed new legislation banning these weapons in certain sensitive places and requiring that those wishing to obtain a license provide a legitimate reason for why they need a pistol.

While gun rights advocates will bemoan this decision as a burdensome regulation on law-abiding gun owners, the law again reflects the desire and the right of the District to ensure the safety of its citizens by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and away from areas where their presence will cause more harm than good.

Furthermore, the recent action by the Council is necessary to stem the tide of gun violence in the District that is strikingly disproportional along racial and geographic lines. According to The Washington Post, the firearm-related death rate is more than thirteen and a half times higher for blacks what it is for whites. In 2012, gun deaths in the D.C. area outnumbered deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents according to a study by the Violence Policy Center.

While this is an issue that affects all citizens of the District, it is one that is especially important to those communities still facing the threat of gun violence on a daily basis. While it is easy for us on the Hilltop to ignore the realities of crime elsewhere in this city, it is not our place to put our theoretical objections above the reality that reasonable restrictions on the public carry of deadly weapons are necessary for the safety of the public.

This law restricts or limits the carry of handguns in government buildings, public transportation units, places where alcohol is sold or served, schools and universities, stadiums and arenas and situations that demand higher protection for officials or visiting dignitaries.

These are reasonable regulations that do not impede the rights of those wishing to assert their Second Amendment rights.

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