Pleading self-defense

"Pleading self-defense" Continued...

Issue: "History speaks," April 1, 2006

Officer Norman Rahman interjected: "Just at first."

"Sure, for a while," Officer Fawzi said, "until we go through the whole campaign of training residents about how to use guns to defend themselves. When you live in the city what are you supposed to do to defend yourself?"

Officer Joe O'Rourke walked through the door and joined the discussion: "I feel no safer working in a city with strict gun laws than in a city without gun laws." He should know. Before joining D.C.'s Third District, the well-traveled officer served 26 years on the New York City police force, then spent several years in the Secret Service and a little while with police departments in Florida.

If stricter gun laws stopped crime, D.C. would be the safest place in the country. But crooks still have guns and the homicide rate has been among the worst in the nation for more than 20 years. Guns are prevalent on D.C. streets in spite of aggressive law enforcement. MPD recovered 2,316 guns in 2005.

Guns alone are not the problem to Officer Fawzi. He owns nearly a dozen. He is, however, aggressive about enforcing the law because in D.C. illegal guns are owned by people wanting to commit illegal activities. Officer Fawzi says a legal gun in well-trained hands can save lives: "I think everyone should have a gun in their house for self-defense."

And as for the risk of his gun falling into the hands of the crook? "Train yourself so it won't be used against you. You go to school to learn how to drive. Learn how to use a gun."

The controversy about gun laws is one that top city officials do not want. Late last year Miss Seegars learned that she will not be reappointed for another term. That very day a cabdriver was killed during a robbery. She says, "I really wasn't too concerned about guns until I was appointed to the taxicab commission. City officials get mad at me for not touting the government line. But just that someone would think about [drivers] enough to say that they should be allowed to arm themselves to defend themselves. That means a lot to them."


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