BELLEVUE, WA – The mayor of Washington, D.C. evidently considers citizens in the District of Columbia to be mere “subjects” who should not be able to exercise their right of self-defense, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

The proposed legislation is known as the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. Mayor Anthony A. Williams told a House committee that ending the District’s 30-year-old handgun ban would be “a slap in the face to me and to the people who live in this city” and “an indignity to the democratic process.”

In response, CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb noted, “A far greater indignity is suffered by victims of violent crime every day in the capital of the free world. How dare Mayor Williams suggest that saving his political face is more important than restoring the right of self-defense to the citizens of the city?

“This is just one more example,” Gottlieb added, “of an anti-gun politician worrying more about his political skin than about the lives of the citizens he serves; citizens who, every day, must worry about being robbed, raped, assaulted or murdered by thugs emboldened by a 30-year-old gun ban that has only led to higher crime rates.”

According to a May editorial in the Washington Times, between 1976, when the ban was imposed, and 1991 the District murder rate climbed 200 percent. The newspaper said FBI data shows the District has the highest violent crime rate of any city in the nation with a population of more than 500,000, and a homicide rate eight times higher than the rest of the country. Only last year did the murder rate fall slightly, for the first time in 18 years.

“With that evidence staring him in the face,” Gottlieb marveled, “Mayor Williams clings to the notion that residents of the district are better off not being able to defend themselves, and that they should leave their safety entirely in the hands of the police. He would relegate the citizens to the status of imperial subjects, solely dependent upon the police for personal protection, just days after the Supreme Court ruled once again that individual citizens enjoy no such protection.

“District Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey told the Committee that last weekend alone, his officers confiscated 17 guns,” Gottlieb concluded. “The ban obviously has failed to keep guns out of the wrong hands. It is high time Congress acts because the city council has failed its duty to protect the citizens. The time has come for the people to regain the right, and the ability, to protect themselves.”