Judiciary Committee Update - Gun Violence Prevention & Public Safety Budget

Posted by
Z. Ades
March 29, 2023

Dear Neighbor,  

Earlier this month, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety hosted a three-day gun violence prevention roundtable to bring together the community, government leaders, and experts to identify actionable solutions to our gun violence crisis. We heard some incredibly emotional and powerful testimony and I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to share their stories and ideas for solutions with the Committee.  

Some of the most prevalent themes I heard from the community during the roundtables were the need for more mental health supports, greater follow-through on government programs, and closure and accountability after the loss of a loved one. We also heard from our government agencies – not in a traditional hearing format – but with all of us sitting at one table, having a real, candid conversation on how we can work together towards progress in improving public safety. We identified a number of immediate gaps including the need for more standardized and accessible data sharing between government agencies, greater accountability for gun manufacturers, and increased support for young people and their families. Now, my team and I will be taking what we heard from the hearings and crafting legislation to address the problems that were raised and implement the solutions that were suggested.

This is just the first of these types of conversations that I will be facilitating as Chairwoman. I will continue to bring leaders together to break down silos, meet the community where they are, and find places for collaboration. You can watch all three days of hearings on my YouTube page. You can also read summaries of day one, two and three on my social media. Stay tuned for more chances to testify in person soon as we work on the budget for Fiscal Year 2024!

Councilmember Pinto hosted day 2 of the roundtables at the Anacostia Community Library

We’re now firmly in budget season. Last week, Mayor Bowser presented her proposed budget to the Council. I am concerned by some of the cuts in the Mayor’s proposed budget, especially to community response teams who handle mental health crises, staffing for key public safety agencies, and victim services. As the Committee now takes on the public safety budget, I will work to ensure our budget meets the public safety needs of our city, provides necessary services to victims of violence, and addresses cycles of trauma.

We will be holding hearings on the budgets for each of our public safety agencies as we determine what changes need to be made to best serve DC residents. Keep reading for more information on how to testify!




Budget oversight for the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety gets underway this week. You can check out the schedule below and sign up to testify!

Submitting Testimony:

Written Testimony: If you are unable to testify at the public hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record; testimony may be submitted to judiciary@dccouncil.gov. Testimony received prior to the close of the record will be made part of the official record.‍

Voicemail Testimony: The public may also leave voicemail testimony for the Committee by calling (202) 630-7585, which will be transcribed and made part of the hearing record. Members of the public leaving voicemail testimony should speak slowly and clearly, state their full name and the organization they represent, if any, and note the name of the agency or subject matter that they are submitting testimony on. Members of the public are asked to not provide an e-mail, phone number, or other person contact information in voicemail testimony.

Testifying Live: The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety’s performance oversight and budget oversight hearings will be held remotely through the Zoom teleconferencing platform. Anyone wishing to testify should contact Ms. Aukima Benjamin, Committee Manager for the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, at least one business day prior to the start of the hearing, at (202) 724-7808 or via e-mail at judiciary@dccouncil.gov; witnesses will receive information on how to join the hearing at that time.

Witnesses who anticipate needing language interpretation, or requiring sign language interpretation, are requested to inform the Committee of the need as soon as possible but no later than five business days before the hearing. We will make every effort to fulfill timely requests, however requests received in less than five business days may not be fulfilled and alternatives may be offered.

Chairwoman Pinto has been on the ground, working directly with our public safety partners to address crime and violence in the city.

Chairwoman Pinto joined the ribbon cutting for DC Homeland Security & Emergency Management’s new emergency operations center. HSEMA works every day with our federal partners to protect DC from threats seen and unseen.

Chairwoman Pinto, alongside Attorney General Schwalb, Councilmember Parker, and Councilmember Frumin, visited DC Jail to speak directly with residents about what they need in order to ensure their return to our communities happens safely and productively.

Chairwoman Pinto toured the Office of Unified Communcations’ operations center to learn more about the work of our 911 operators. As OUC works to regain public trust and eliminate errors, Chairwoman Pinto is committed to providing accountability and the resources they need to be successful.

Councilmember Pinto visited the DC Peace Academy, run by Peace for DC. The Peace Academy provides essential tools and support to violence interrupters. Councilmember Pinto heard from violence interrupters about what they need from the government to best do their jobs and will continue working to ensure violence interrupters have support and investments so they can continue working to end cycles of violence.

WATCH: FOX 5: DC Council holds roundtable to talk crime, gun violence with community members

WUSA9: DC councilmember hosting forum to find solutions to gun violence. From a recent stabbing in the Petworth Library to the D.C.'s revised criminal code, crime and violence continue to be top of mind for DC neighbors. So, one councilmember is hosting a public forum to address it. Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto is kicking off a three-day forum to focus on gun violence. She said her goal is to bring neighbors, advocates, and government officials together to find solutions to gun violence.

DCist: ‘Invest In People:’ Residents Call For More Mental Health, Trauma-Focused Solutions To Gun Violence. For over three hours on Saturday afternoon, residents, community leaders, and advocates offered their personal experiences with gun violence, their vision for solutions, and at times, frustration and anger at the multiple ways they say the city has failed the predominantly Black neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. It marked the second of a three-day series of discussions hosted by Pinto, who is in her first stint as chair of the council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety.

WJLA: DC to hold public roundtable on gun violence prevention with government witnesses. “'We must acknowledge that gun violence is not merely a problem facing the district, it is an emergency. It is a crisis,' said Councilmember Pinto. 'And as such, it is critical that we take drastic and most importantly effective action to address the crisis level rates of gun violence we see in our communities.'"

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