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Thursday, December 08, 2022

US Gun Violence Surges

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The silence of a Washington, D.C., neighborhood night earlier this month was swiftly shattered by gunshots. When police arrived at the scene, they found the dead body of an African American teenager who had been shot and was lying on the street.

The April 11 murder of 15-year-old Malachi Jackson comes at a time when many American communities have experienced a wave of gun violence involving teenagers who are increasingly recognized among victims and perpetrators.

D.C. Police say Jackson was the youngest victim and third teenager under the age of 18 to be shot in the nation’s capital so far this year. His death has affected many in the city’s Columbia Heights neighborhood where the young teen was killed.

“My son shouldn’t have been murdered,” Jackson’s mother said in a television interview with NBC 4. “It just makes me wonder, do people value anything anymore?”

No arrests have been made, but detectives believe the murder may have been the result of a neighborhood feud involving other youths.

“It’s very dangerous,” said DC Police Third District Commander Han Kim. “It’s really hard for me to express how relatable it is and how serious we take it.”

Authorities in Washington have recorded more than 46 gunshot deaths this year, including the murders of two 16-year-olds in February and March.

“Gun violence is out of control here,” said Mary Rogers, who lives in Columbia Heights. They believe Jackson’s death was the third murder in the area in the past six months that involved a young man.

“We need to get guns out of the hands of teenagers,” Rogers told the VOA. “When juveniles are caught shooting someone and convicted in court, they should be given severe punishment.”

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser recently launched several citywide programs aimed at reducing gun violence and has proposed hiring hundreds of additional police officers.

“We need a 21st-century model for the police that tries to prevent more crimes than just responds,” said Richard Eborne, chairman of the New York Civil Crimes Commission.

“I’m talking about policing that tries to understand what constitutes a gun crime or mass violence,” Aiborne told VOA. “Police services need to collaborate with the community in accessing government services across the country in areas where it is most needed.”

mass shooting

The tragedies of everyday gun violence, which account for most American shooting deaths, are often fueled by reports of mass shootings, defined as shooting four or more people.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, two 17-year-olds were killed and several injured after officials said more than 90 shots were fired by multiple people inside a house party that 200 teenagers attended over the Easter holiday weekend. took.

Officials said one of the weapons used was an AR-15-style assault pistol.

“There are more illegal guns on the streets than ever before and there are many guns in the hands of teenagers,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said in a Nation World News interview. “Gun violence is a national issue.”

According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, about 21,000 American gunshot deaths were reported in 2021. There were 693 mass shootings, in which 702 people lost their lives.

The mass shootings have left many communities on edge and residents are calling for more to be done to reverse the trend. Several lawmakers in Congress have introduced legislation to stop mass shootings and help communities where violence took place, but the law has stalled on Capitol Hill.

curbing gun violence

US President Joe Biden has made tackling gun violence a priority and continues to pressure lawmakers to pass new gun laws. The measures would require background checks for all weapons purchases, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and repeal gun manufacturers’ protections from liability in shooting.

While upholding the measures that violate the constitutional rights of gun owners, gun rights advocates have vowed to fight hard against all resolutions.

President Biden has also proposed federal measures to ban so-called “ghost guns”.

“These guns are the weapon of choice for many criminals,” Biden said earlier this month during a White House event. Ghost guns are sold in kits that consumers can assemble themselves.

Law enforcement officials said these guns are popular because they lack serial numbers, making it difficult for police to track when weapons are used to commit crimes.

New government regulations would make it illegal for businesses to manufacture such kits without a serial number and for a licensed gun dealer to sell them without a background check.

The Justice Department says that in 2021, law enforcement agencies recovered nearly 20,000 suspected ghost guns during criminal investigations, 10 times more than what police found in 2016.

Police and government officials in Washington support efforts to crack down on the distribution of ghost guns and other programs to reduce gun violence.

DC Ward 1 Council member Brian Nadeau said, “The crime we are dealing with now is the result of generations of hurtful policies that were plagued by racism and inequality, then exacerbated by the pandemic and the insecurity that followed. ”

In May, local leaders plan to launch a violence prevention program called “Cure the Streets” in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. It will use those trapped in the community to help mediate disputes before they escalate into violence.

“The level of violence we have in this area is unacceptable to me and I will not rest until it subsides,” Nadeau said.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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