Statement from Councilmember Allen on recent gun violence

The following statement is from Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6), who chairs the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety:

“My heart goes out to the seven families who are grieving the sudden and tragic murder of a loved one. There are thousands of families living in neighborhoods where shootings are all too common. We can’t even quantify the damage that trauma is doing to each resident, even those who simply hear the gunshots from inside their home or on their way to school or work.

As Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, I will continue to work collaboratively with Mayor Bowser, our Metropolitan Police Department, my Council colleagues, and our criminal justice partners to make progress toward no more gun deaths.

One additional tool District residents can use is what’s commonly called a “Red Flag Law,” which the Council passed late last year. The law created a way for family members, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers to request a court order requiring that someone surrender any guns they own if it’s believed they pose a danger to themselves or others.

The idea is simple: if we know our loved one or our neighbor wants to use a gun to hurt someone (including themselves), we can’t wait to intervene. Once the trigger is pulled, it’s already too late.

A critical part of the new law is immunity: a mom shouldn’t have to weigh her son using a gun versus going to jail if she tells someone he has a gun. The point is to take the gun off the street. Helping mom know she can make that call, for both her and someone else’s son or daughter, is critical.

It's a new law and hasn't been used yet (Maryland had 150 seizures in the first three months with their own version of a red flag law). We need to begin using this as part of our toolbox. I’m creating a working group of government agencies and gun safety advocates to help with implementation and getting the word out to our neighbors.

This is meant to be just one more tool to reduce and end gun violence – something all of us in government and in the community are working together to achieve.”

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