Yesterday’s homicide body count in Baltimore reached 211, according to WBAL News, and during the course of the discussion Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was calling for tougher federal gun laws, though the report acknowledged that the city’s violence “surges on despite Maryland’s gun laws, some of the toughest in the country.”
In Washington, D.C., investigative reporter Emily Miller with Fox 5 News yesterday predicted that the District’s homicide total will hit 100 by the end of this week. The city had recorded 98 slayings by yesterday, and Miller’s report was about police efforts to reduce violence by manning 24/7 a pop-up display with two officers on duty, handing out pamphlets, and assigning other officers to guard portable light towers that illuminate apparent crime areas.
The District of Columbia also has tough gun laws, and getting a permit to carry is extremely difficult and discouraging by design. Miller is an authority on that, having gone through the process first to own and possess a gun in the District – and writing a book about the experience – and more recently to get a permit to carry.
The district’s carry permit law is being challenged in court by the Second Amendment Foundation. By no small coincidence, SAF is also promising legal action against the City of Seattle over a unanimously-adopted tax on retail firearms and ammunition sales, which is the Queen City’s scheme to combat violent crime by raising funds for what SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb yesterday called “gun control” efforts during a live broadcast on Armed American Radio in his Bellevue office.
Authorities in Baltimore and the District of Columbia could look at Seattle with envy. Counting the slaying of Ramon Mitchell last Sunday on Capitol Hill, Seattle now has 17 homicides so far this year, according to the Seattle police.
Baltimore’s Rawlings-Blake also acknowledged that “There are four major strands that are impacting the homicide rate in Baltimore. We can trace it and we can trace the players. There are known entities who are battling it out on the streets like is this is the wild, wild west, and we need help.” Still, she said, national gun control is necessary because of lax laws in other states.
This is how WBAL’s Jayne Miller reported the mayor’s remarks: “Citing similar increases in violence in other cities, the mayor called for a national response, including a controversial target: tougher federal gun laws. She acknowledged that Baltimore’s violence surges on despite Maryland’s gun laws, some of the toughest in the country. The problem, she said, is that laws in other states are more lax.”
One of those “lax” states, according to the gun prohibition lobby, is the Evergreen State. At last check, the number of active concealed pistol licenses here was above 496,000 and climbing. Seattle officials want tougher gun laws – the tax being one of them – but one look at the other two cities mentioned here might suggest that this is already a failed strategy.
According to the most current estimates available on line this morning, Baltimore has a population of about 621,000. The District of Columbia’s population is about 602,000. Seattle’s population is above 662,000, yet the city in a state with the “lax” gun laws, and with the most people, has a fraction of the homicides reported by the other two.
There is something else at work in Baltimore and the District than the “lax gun laws elsewhere” excuse. When compared to Seattle, that argument doesn’t pass the smell test. Officials in those eastern cities are going to have to come up with some other strategy than whining about gun laws in other places, and considering the number of dead already – with four months remaining this year – they better do it fast.
Got an opinion about this column? Share your views in the “Comments” section below.