D.C. Council votes to lower criminal penalties on carjacking, gun possession, burglary

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

If you thought it sounded like it was fun there now – just wait!


Things must really be looking up for the safety and security of the residents of the city, that council members feel they can move definitively in this direction. This is the second vote on these proposed reforms and all that remains is Mayor Muriel Bowers’ approval.

The Washington, D.C., city council on Tuesday voted to dramatically reform the city’s criminal code, reducing penalties for offenses including illegal gun possession and carjacking, even as D.C. has seen a spike in homicides in recent years.

The legislation, which requires the approval of Mayor Muriel Bowser (D.), would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for most crimes, the Washington Post reported, and lower the maximum sentences for crimes such as carjacking and robbery.

…Tuesday’s vote marks the second time this month that the council approved the legislation, which is required for bills in D.C. to advance. This week’s deliberation over the bill was contentious, as some council members challenged the bill’s provisions that would lower the maximum penalty for carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a gun as a felon to two years in prison.

Some council members apparently thought they were moving in exactly the opposite direction from what was needed and proposed increasing maximum sentences for firearm offenses, but they were overruled by the more progressive elements. I have to admit, I didn’t exactly follow the logic in those arguments against stiffer penalties. See if you can make something of this.


…Public safety committee chairman Charles Allen (D.) said the amendment was not supported by data showing it would improve public safety, according to the Post‘s reporting.

“For supporters of this amendment, I hear you saying we need to raise penalties to meet this moment, to send a message. But I ask you to show your work,” Allen said. “At some point, this council needs to reckon with what it means to have one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the free world and yet endure this kind of violence.”

WHUT. Is Mr. Allen not a councilman for this city? The one that just set this record?

DC reaches 100th homicide mark faster than any year since 2003

…DC Police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton said in a news release that in 2021, the 100th homicide was recorded on July 10. During the last 10 years, the average date that the district reached this grim marker was Oct. 25.

…D.C.’s homicide rate is up 16% compared to last year, which saw a record-high number of homicides, with 226 homicides committee in the District in 2021.

Is Councilman Allen not familiar with the other statistics his vote for lighter penalties is going to impact?

…Pemberton asserts that crime data on the department’s website shows that homicides in 2022 have increased 16% this year, over last year’s 14% increase. Homicides in Ward 1 are up 166% this year. Robberies citywide are up 32%. And so far this year, there have been nearly 200 carjackings in D.C.

Unless I was misled in school, this is what’s known as “showing your work.” What is the councilman’s twisted reasoning trying to accomplish? Triple the carjackings before the year’s end? All in the name of fewer folks incarcerated – better they were dead on the street? It’s a given there are going to be more bodies on the street, just a question of what the good-to-bad ration is. Is that where he’s going with this? None of it makes a lick of sense other than pandering to a certain socio-economic class and truly vile racial demagoguery. In addition to his breathtaking display of complete ignorance of the utter failure of this same grand social experiment, culminating in the near ruination of every city it has been tried in. All of us can rattle off examples without a second thought.


There is so much wrong in D.C. already, for God’s sake. In August, one of the local NFL franchise players was shot during a wild carjacking attempt on a packed downtown street.

Unbelievably, the WaPo actually came unglued, and went after Bowser by name.

…The report noted that it is “unclear” how Bowser’s policy to cut crime in the district is working, considering that the high-profile NFL player was shot, and that “violent crime is up 89 percent” in parts of the city.

Published Monday, the piece opened with Bowser’s explicit ambitions to stop crime in her city juxtaposed with the current state of crime in Washington, D.C. It read, “Two months after D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser launched a program to disrupt ‘patterns of violence’ at three city nightlife hubs, a Washington Commanders running back was shot and injured during an armed robbery on one of those thoroughfares.”

…The authors added that “The shooting has drawn national attention to gun violence in D.C. and raised questions about whether the city is doing enough to keep its residents safe — including in the areas where officials have invested additional resources to curb crime.”

The piece explained that the carjacking and shooting of Robinson Jr. is part of a crime rate that has nearly doubled in the H Street corridor. “Along the H Street corridor, violent crime is up 89 percent compared with the same time last year, according to data provided by the city.”

…However, the piece declared, “Two months later, the effectiveness of that strategy is unclear. The mayor’s nightlife teams, which are in service from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, were not active when Robinson was shot.”

Robinson Jr. wasn’t even the only person attacked in the area that evening. The Post reported that he was “one of three people shot at or stabbed this weekend along the H Street corridor, police said.”

And local residents told the paper “that they have come to expect occasional violence in their neighborhood and that the events of the weekend did not seem particularly unusual.”


It makes you wonder how the WaPo is going to respond to the council codifying more lenient treatment of violent offenders.

The police union is laying the skyrocketing crime rate squarely in the lap of already enacted “reforms.” They have been decimated by retirements and cops flat out leaving due to the environment, and are dangerously understaffed already.

MPD has lost over 500 police officers to either retirement or resignation since council’s actions, Pemberton said, and the total strength of the police department is approximately 3,400 sworn officers, the lowest number in decades.

I can’t imagine what they – and crime – will do if Bowser blesses this package. Okay, I can – it’s ghastly to imagine it. Ghastly beyond measure, and I do not understand.

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