D.C. officials call for renewed focus on gun policies after deadly holiday weekend

A slew of shootings over Memorial Day weekend is pushing city officials to re-examine gun policies in the District.

Following 10 shootings over the three-day holiday, in which four people were killed and more than three people were wounded, Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered check-ins with parolees and juveniles in youth rehabilitation programs, WTOP reported Tuesday.

Bowser said the city will continue to work with members of the community and increase job training opportunities to combat gun violence. She said the recent shootings – the majority of which occurred in Wards 7 and 8 – were an “unacceptable spike in violence” at a press conference Tuesday.

“Policing alone cannot solve the issues of violence affecting communities,” Bowser said.

The uptick in gun violence follows a 26 percent drop in overall violent crimes in the District last year.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said city officials need to rethink the punishments for carrying illegal weapons and work to pull illegal firearms off the streets to reduce gun violence in the District, WTOP reported.

“They are disputes between known parties,” Newsham said. “Somebody introduces a firearm into that dispute, and the next thing you know, we have somebody shot, somebody killed.”

In D.C., the minimum sentence for a felon in possession of a firearm is one year in prison. Other unlawful forms of firearm possession warrant two years in prison, according to WTOP.

“I also think we need to take a strong look at what the consequences are for carrying an illegal firearm and make sure those penalties are significant enough where we’re having an impact,” Newsham said.

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