Despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that called the District of Columbia’s outright ban on gun ownership illegal, 51 percent of residents say they want it reinstated.
According to a poll conducted by The Washington Post, residents are split nearly down the middle on the issue, with 47 percent opposed to the idea and the other 3 percent with no opinion.
District officials and federal lawyers are engaged in an ongoing court battle over D.C.’s gun ban after a federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional last year.
In response to the ruling, D.C. council passed a slightly less restrictive concealed carry law that requires any D.C. resident seeking to carry a gun to prove “good reason to fear injury to his or her person” in order to obtain a permit. In May, a federal judge ruled that law unconstitutional as well.
U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. blocked the law after gun rights advocates brought a lawsuit against the city claiming the law makes it almost impossible for residents to obtain the permit to carry a gun. They say the law sometimes takes months to complete.
“For all intents and purposes, this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Judge Scullin wrote in his 23-page opinion.
According to the poll, 43 percent of residents think a handgun ban will make no difference in keeping the city safe, while 42 percent said it will make the city safer. Twelve percent of residents said it will make the city less safe.
The same poll shows residents believe crime is the number one problem facing the city. The murder rate is up almost 60 percent over the same time last year, and certain neighborhoods are seeing huge numbers of violent crimes.
The poll also showed that residents are losing faith in leaders.
Just 33 percent of residents believe Mayor Muriel Bowser is doing a good job addressing the rising crime rate. The same poll, taken in Jan. 2014, showed a 55 percent approval rating for Bowser’s predecessor Vincent Gray.
While Bowser has a slightly favorable rating overall, 58 percent of residents say they approve of her actions as mayor, Police Chief Cathy Lanier saw a large drop in her favorability rating.
Lanier, who still garners high support from city residents, saw her approval rating drop from 71 percent a year ago to 61 percent in the current poll.