D.C. Will Search Homes For Guns, Offer Amnesty


Washington, D.C., police are so eager to get guns out of the city that they’re offering amnesty to people who allow officers to come into their homes and get the weapons, reports the Washington Post. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced yesterday the Safe Homes Initiative, aimed at parents and guardians who know or suspect that their children or other relatives have guns. Police target areas hit by violence and seek adults who let them search their homes for guns, with no risk of arrest. The offer also applies to drugs that turn up during the searches.

“If we come across illegal contraband, we will confiscate it,” Lanier said. “But amnesty means amnesty. We’re trying to get guns and drugs off the street.” Fenty and Lanier announced the plan as part of a new strategy to deal with the prevalence of firearms in a city with one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case challenging the constitutionality of the D.C. law. Residents who agree to the searches will be asked to sign consent forms. If guns are found, they will be tested to determine whether they were used in crimes. If the results are positive, police will launch investigations, which could lead to charges. Boston police are embarking on a similar program this month. Police in that city have been meeting with residents before the door-to-door effort begins. Philadelphia police are considering such an initiative. Ronald Hampton, executive director of the National Black Police Association, said he said, he would not consent to his house being searched. “They haven’t earned that level of access or respect from the community,” Hampton said. “I just can’t believe they’re trying to do that. I’ve never heard of anything like that in my life.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/12/AR2008031202717.html

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