MPD, ATF, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Mayor Bowser Collaborate to Combat Illegal Gun Trafficking in Washington, DC

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Thursday, July 25, 2019
Today the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) held a press conference to promote the partnership between MPD, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for Washington, D.C. and the Eastern District of Virginia (USAO), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s efforts in combatting illegal gun trafficking in Washington, D.C.
the Washington, DC Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) Initiative, MPD works closely with local and federal partners, including the DC Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS), the USAOs, ATF, and surrounding jurisdictions to target and reduce gun crime. The CGIC initiative helps MPD find links between homicides, shootings, and other firearm-related incidents using ballistic imaging technology. Our CGIC partnership has also increased information-sharing about the origins of those firearms used in Washington, DC. Learning about these connections and firearms origins is critical because it can help us get ahead of the game, and may prevent future retaliatory activities.
A contributing factor to gun crime in Washington, DC is the availability of guns in surrounding jurisdictions. This year alone, there have been over 1,000 illegal firearms recovered in the District; approximately 2,000 guns are recovered each year.
“All of us – the District government, MPD, and our federal law enforcement partners – have a shared responsibility to confront the gun violence that is destroying families and senselessly taking the lives of our neighbors,” said Mayor Bowser. “We will continue working to stop the flow of illegal guns into the District, to hold accountable individuals who violate our gun laws, and to heal communities suffering from traumatic gun violence.”
“At MPD, we are concentrating on combating the flow and use of illegal firearms in Washington, DC. This work is dangerous, but critical to curb the gun violence that has taken place in our communities,” stated MPD Chief of Police, Peter Newsham. “We will continue to use our department resources and agency partnerships to prevent violent gun crimes from occurring as the safety and protection of all residents and visitors is a priority.”
“The correlation between the availability and use of illegal guns and violent crime is undeniable,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu. “We will continue to work closely with our partners in the law enforcement community in the promotion of public safety and the pursuit of justice. Our message to these who traffic in illegal firearms is that you will be found, and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
“Illegal firearms trafficking fuels violent crime because it allows for guns to fall into the hands of those convicted felons and other criminals who pose a serious threat to the safety and well-being of our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Ashan Benedict. “That is why ATF will continue to work alongside MPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop the illegal flow of firearms into our nation’s capital and to hold accountable all those who engage in this insidious criminal activity.”
“The seriousness of straw purchase cases cannot be overstated,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Straw purchasers are often literally arming criminals, which poses a serious threat to the public and law enforcement. We will prosecute both the straw purchasers and the true purchasers to the fullest extent of the law—federal felonies.”
All agencies have a vested interest in ensuring the safety of the Washington, D.C. community and continue to work together to combat the illegal purchase, transportation and resale of firearms. It is one of MPD’s main goals to safely remove illegal firearms from DC streets to reduce crime and the fear of crime in the community.
MPD also recovers firearms with the assistance of anonymous tips made through the anonymous tip line. Anyone who has information regarding gun recoveries should call police at 202-727-9099. Additionally, information can be submitted to the TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $2,500 to anyone who provides information that leads to the recovery of an illegal firearm hidden in the District of Columbia.

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