'Strict Enforcement of Gun Laws Needed,' Police Chief Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The May 3rd shooting death of an eight-year-old District of Columbia girl -- killed in her aunt's home while picking up her dolls -- is expected to galvanize anti-gun groups that are coming to the city this weekend for a Mother's Day march against guns.

The so-called "Halt the Assault" rally is being sponsored by the Million Mom March, a group that advocates gun control.

Eight-year-old Chelsea Cromartie was shot in the head Monday night by a stray bullet that crashed through a window of her aunt's house. Police said the gunfire erupted on a street outside, following an argument between two groups of young men. Police have not made any arrests.

As the Washington Post reported, the shooting has dismayed and outraged city officials and residents.

"There is a culture of violence and attitude that exists among many people that leads to violence we've been witnessing," the newspaper quoted Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey as saying. "There really is no explaining this."

Police have confiscated more than 700 guns in the District of Columbia so far this year -- and they confiscated more than 2,000 last year -- in a city where it is illegal to own handguns, WUSA-TV, the local CBS affiliate, reported.

"Eighty percent of our homicides involve the use of handguns," Chief Ramsey told the TV station. "Now, we have very good gun control laws. But it's not difficult to go someplace and buy a gun outside the District," he said.

According to WUSA-TV, Ramsey also told the TV station that strict penalties and enforcement of existing laws are what is needed.

Washington has one of the nation's most restrictive gun laws, according to the Cato Institute, a public policy research group, which has filed a lawsuit on behalf of six D.C. residents, demanding that the city relax its "draconian" gun laws.

According to Cato, it is illegal for any D.C. resident to own a handgun unless he or she is a police officer or owns a gun that was registered before 1976. Even then, all guns must be kept unloaded in the home, the Cato Institute said.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of residents who complain that the only armed people in the District are the bad guys -- leaving law-abiding citizens without the ability to defend themselves.

Marching moms

The Million Mom March -- which is affiliated with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence -- says it is marching "against gun violence and the devastation it causes."

A statement on the group's website calls on the Congress "to renew and strengthen the Assault Weapons Ban, to hold gun manufacturers accountable for their products, to require background checks on all gun purchases, to reinstate the 5-day Brady waiting period for all gun purchases, and to incorporate safety standards into gun design."

The night before the May 9th march, the gun control group is hosting what it calls a "Blacklist Ball," a jibe at the National Rifle Association's so-called "blacklist" of gun control groups.

"Who knew that being on a blacklist could be such a ball?" the Brady/Million Mom website says.

The list of the Blacklist Ball's national sponsors reads like a "who's-who" of liberal activists and Democrat lawmakers. (Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is not listed, but the senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, is.)


The Second Amendment Sisters said it will hold a counter-demonstration in Washington on Sunday to stand up for the "basic human right of self-defense for women and others."

The SAS gathering -- dubbed the Second Amendment Freedoms for Everyone Rally, or S.A.F.E.R. -- called the Million Mom March "extremist."

"The people's God-given right to keep and bear arms, as articulated in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America (a part of the Bill of Rights), is being assaulted on a daily basis by well-funded anti-gun organizations," SAS said in a press release.

"Unbelievably, the extremist MMM is asking Congress to renew and strengthen the so-called "Assault Weapons Ban," a law that even the Centers for Disease Control admits has had no effect on crime.

"The gun-grabbers are also shooting to reinstate the 5-day Brady waiting period for all gun purchases, which has proven itself to be utterly worthless since its inception."

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