WASHINGTON — At a forum hosted by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Monday night, city stakeholders and leaders applauded the mayor’s accomplishments heading into her new term.
However, one stubborn issue the mayor’s administration hasn’t been able to solve is the city’s murder rate.
"We have had, despite all those improvements, the same number of people being shot, the same number of people being killed with guns," Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Kevin Donahuem, said. "Most of the guns that come into D.C. illegally, come from Virginia."
Bowser sent a letter to Virginia lawmakers last week, demanding they pass stricter gun laws to help curb violence in the District.
"Do something about guns coming out of Virginia that are killing D.C. residents," Bowser said.
She pointed to statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency that traces firearms recovered at crime scenes, which found that 41% of illegal firearms picked up in D.C. originated in Virginia.
Bowser also applauded Maryland for its tougher gun laws passed in the years following the tragic killing of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
"Crime guns traced to Maryland decreased 56%," Bowser noted.
During the same period, Virginia increased 52%.
Bower is asking Virginia legislators to pass laws implementing tougher regulations for gun dealers, stricter background checks, enact "red flag" laws, required reporting for stolen firearms and stronger penalties for offenders.
Monday afternoon, Virginia’s Senate Judiciary Committee advanced several controversial gun bills, including stricter background checks and limiting handgun purchases to one a month.