D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham argued that more severe punishments are required for crimes involving guns, during Tuesday’s interview on WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show.
Focusing on local security issues, specifically Saturday’s shooting at a community event in Anacostia, D.C.’s interim Police Chief Newsham stated that repeat offenders of gun crimes are behind the District’s extremely high homicide rates.
Newsham, who is on his first week on the job, explained that half of suspects arrested for homicides last year had previous gun offenses.
“What that tells me is that once those folks were arrested the first time with a gun, whatever consequences that there were, it didn’t change the behavior,” he said.
According to Newsham, the flow of illegal firearms into the District is a major factor in terms of the increasing shooting deaths. City officials are reportedly working with police in various other states in order to stop the flow.
Noting that it is hard to guess the number of illegal firearms currently circulating in the District, Newsham said over 1,150 of them were confiscated in 2019.
WAMU reported that a large portion of the illegal guns in D.C. are coming from Virginia, Georgia, the Carolinas and Maryland.