DC leaders, gun violence victims urge Congress for universal background check legislation

- D.C. residents impacted by gun violence told city leaders Wednesday night that the flow of illegal guns into the streets has got to stop.

Wednesday marked the National Day of Action for Gun Violence Prevention and D.C. officials held a roundtable meeting to discuss the urgent push to tighten gun restrictions in the District.

One woman who lost her daughter in a mass shooting in the District made her plea to clean up the streets. Back in 2010, three teenagers and nine other people were wounded in a drive-by shooting on South Capitol Street in Southeast D.C.

One of the victims in that deadly shooting was Nardyne Jeffries’ daughter, Brishell. She said she has to walk past the spot where her only child was gunned down every single day.

She spoke about her daughter’s death and held up a picture of Brishell, which was too graphic to show on television, to show what gun violence really looks like.

“This is what my daughter looked like,” said Jeffries as she showed the picture to the audience. “Her head was blown open with an AK-47 [along] with her shoulder. There were .3-caliber weapons used to kill, to shoot into a crowd of young people. Nine were shot. Brishell and two others died at that scene. That is a memory that will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Jeffries was joined by a mother who survived being shot twice by her husband in front of their little boy. Two mothers who lost sons to violence in the streets and another man, who is a survivor, but has lost several friends and family members, also were in attendance.

They spoke along with D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library about the need for gun control, including universal background checks on gun sales to help reduce the number of guns that come into the District illegally from states along with an assault weapons ban.

Chief Lanier said despite D.C.’s strict gun laws, weapons still make their way into the city with 31 percent coming from Virginia and 22 percent from Maryland.

“Without a national gun safety law, you can have the strongest gun safety laws in the country and they get immediately undermined by parts of the country that don’t have it,” said Del. Norton. “That is why this is a national issue and not simply a local issue.”

Norton said 90 percent of Americans want background check along with “no fly, no buy.” She also said it is time for Congress to pass common sense gun legislation.

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