Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Tuesday proposed legislation that will increase penalties for gun crimes and other violent offenses ahead of her testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
Bowser’s proposal includes increasing penalties for illegal gun possession, violent crimes that target those with mental or physical disabilities, and crimes that victimize Metro and other public transportation workers. The proposal would also make strangulation a type of felony assault, which would increase the prison sentence to three years.
“We have heard from our public safety partners and from members of the community about the gaps that exist in our public safety ecosystem — this package of legislation will address those gaps,” Bowser said in a statement. “This is about making sure we have the tools we need to build a safer, stronger D.C. and protect the overwhelming majority of people in our city who are doing the right thing and who just want to be able to enjoy our beautiful city and our fantastic neighborhoods.”
Bowser announced the new proposal Monday, just a day before she testified in front of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee about crime and safety in D.C. and the management of the city, according to Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.). House Republicans have been critical about crime in the District, and the House voted earlier this year to block D.C.’s revised criminal code from being enacted.
The proposal would still need to be approved and voted on by the D.C. Council before becoming law.
The proposal would also give the courts greater discretion over who should be detained before their trial, including those who are on trial for a violent crime after they were previously convicted of a different crime.
“While we work to create a policy environment in our city that supports safety, the entire public safety and justice ecosystem must be healthy, well-resourced and collaborative for enforcement to be successful,” acting Deputy Mayor Lindsey Appiah said in a statement.
Source : The Hill