The following statement can be attributed to Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6), chair of the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety:
“Today, the District experienced the very painful marker of 200 homicides. It’s a time to remember those family and friends we’ve lost and honor them by taking action to prevent gun violence and save lives.
Even as most types of crime have decreased over time, and despite the District’s strong gun laws, gun violence has been persistent in our city and in most major cities across the country. There isn’t one explanation, but we do know that in moments of personal or community conflict or desperation, people have reached for guns they found far too easily, and those guns have been more lethal. And we cannot separate the deep harm of the pandemic on vulnerable communities from the uptick in violence we’re experiencing.
But markers like this one can bring us together. Government and community can commit to results. The District government has invested more funding this fiscal year than ever before to build a well-rounded response to gun violence that prevents and interrupts cycles of violence, rather than responding only after the trigger is pulled. If we coordinate those resources and tools correctly, as this National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform report urges, we will save lives and bring peace to our neighborhoods.
At its core, investing in violence prevention and intervention means recognizing gun violence is frequently driven on a very personal, very human level. It’s in everyone’s interest to build communities able to respond to those personal and human motivations by focusing our resources and strategies on the relatively small number of people who commit most gun violence, a strategy that requires far more than relying on policing alone.
We owe it to the 200 people taken from us, to the crime survivors who have to live with what bullets destroyed, to their loved ones, and to all those traumatized by the ripple effects of gun violence, to invest in strategies we know work. I will continue to advocate on their behalf for a coordinated, transparent, well-resourced, city-wide strategy to end gun violence, and nothing less.”