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Crime & Punishment

When the Focus Shifts to Our Back Yard

Lee, here.

So, maybe 15 minutes after we finished producing this morning's program, news comes that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to rock the boat mightily here in Washington, D.C., with regard to a three-decade old gun ban. Of course, by now, we've learned how to scramble. Through a bit of quick hustling, we were able to stay on top of the news and offer an updated conversation to reflect the development.

The justices say the District's ban is unconstitutional, that the rule has overstayed its welcome in the city. There are a lot of emotions out there about this one. And they're sort of all over the place.

I don't know how long you've been following us, but if you were with us during our early podcast pilot days (kudos if you were), then you might remember hearing the story of two D.C. moms — they shared two similar experiences, but two very different perspectives. Shanda Smith and Valencia Mohammed both lost children to gun violence. One was dedicated to keeping a ban on handguns in the city. The other, however, was against the restrictions. And they were both rooted in their stance. The conversation still lives on our blog, so take a listen. I'm sure you'll find it interesting.

There's a common feeling that retracting the ban would theoretically open the floodgates to gun violence in the city. As of today, the city is just one murder shy of where it was last year (85 to 86 homicides, respectively, although it's unclear how many of those murders can be traced to gun violence). For that very reason, others say it's about time they're allowed to protect themselves. Regardless, it'll be interesting to see how people react to the being told they can now do something they've been told for so long was unlawful.

I should point out that today's high court decision still allows the city some say as to who can now own a handgun (mental illness or a felony conviction are likely disqualifiers).

We'll see.

Also, make sure you're with us next week. Michel's packing her bags, and we're taking the show on the road (let's just hope we can persuade her to come back!). More to come ...