Gun Violence in Washington, D.C.

Kiaira Wheeler

Gun violence has been a significant issue in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, innocent people have lost their lives due to gun violence. This issue has not been resolved. Families are not getting justice to find the person who killed their loved ones. The government is not  finding ways to decrease gun violence in communities or even curb access to guns.

In an article by 7news staff titled; Must Stop Now”: DC police recorded more than 200 homicides last year,  Chief Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police, revealed that in 2022 in Washington DC, there were 203 homicides.  Statistics  from D.C. police union also claimed there were 226 homicides  in 2021 and 2020, the year we had a Covid lockdown. A D.C. Police officer stated on Twitter that  “This is the first time since 2002-2003 that DC has suffered back- to -back years with 200- plus homicides.” 

Chief Robert expressed that it’s unacceptable to see people turn to illegal guns to commit acts of violence. He further stated that Gun violence is taking a toll in Washington DC, tearing down the city piece by piece. …, “Our detectives are working tirelessly to investigate every crime and bring justice to the families of victims. Our officers continue to proactively take a record number of illegal guns off the street, at an average of eight to nine guns daily in 2022.”

According to  Proximity to homicide exposure in Washington, D.C., 2021 As we know how gun violence is a major impact on the community, it now has an impact on children. “Children who have been victims or witnesses to neighborhood violence are more likely to experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). In Washington, DC, one out of every five children has been exposed to ACE.”

This article further claimed that  “…additionally, there are racial disparities in proximity to homicide: approximately 68 percent District residents lived within a half mile of a homicide, compared to 87 percent of District residents of color—a gap of 19 percentage points. That gap is larger for children: 89 percent children of color live within a half mile of a homicide, where that share is 57 percent for white children: a gap of 32 percentage points.” This demonstrates a huge visibility of increased murder exposure for Black and Hispanic children, may have consequences for their academic and mental health, making it more difficult for them to focus in school or commute to school.

Tariq Lewis, a DMV resident, voiced how the lack of gun control in DC leads to increased gun violence. Lewis elaborated on how the government needed  to crack down on possessing weapons in DC. He stated, “We need to get them out of the hands of people who do not need them, and eventually, out of circulation.” Lewis also expressed that while attending high school a student in his school was killed by an unknown assailant in DC during his senior year. Lewis was saddened that the student’s life was taken away and he didn’t get a chance to graduate high school.  Lewis also believed that if we didn’t do anything productive, we’ll definitely be one of the most dangerous cities in the US again. “The inability to heal or rise above our trauma and show each other the grace we show other minorities was one of the reasons they could come together and we couldn’t,” concluded Lewis. 

Kelly is participating in a protest in Washington DC

Another D.C resident, Kelly, claimed that , “Personally I don’t think there is one solid thing I can say causes gun violence in our environment. When asked what’s the cause, my mind usually races down the rabbit hole of why so many of my loved ones have been victims or suspects in gun violence. I believe the root of it is poverty and the generational trauma. Most of the youth are now the grandkids of the people who lived during the crack epidemic when DC was the murder capital. The youth today inherited the pain and trauma of our elders and learned how to survive. Kelly recalled losing a loved one to gun violence when he was young. “Being so young , it’s hard to process that because people aren’t supposed to just be here one day then the next you told the time and you’ll never see me again but they in a better place.”

Kelly and other members of DC residents is marching and protesting

Rashaad Lathern , from nearby Prince George’s County , Maryland, believed the cause of Washington DC having the  highest rate of gun violence  “is because of the environment we live in, and the people we surround ourselves with.  One of the biggest causes is gang and hood affiliated crews in the city that cause the most drama and composition in the city of Washington DC, so it really starts with us as people in the community killing our own people.” 

Overall, Washington DC continues to experience increasing gun violence because of the many reasons stated above. This solutions rest in gun control, poverty alleviation, and cultural re-orientation. Maybe the future of Washington DC will witness less violence and relative peace.

Categories: Crime, Features, Uncategorized

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