Lawmakers aren’t doing anything to solve the problem, according to Ken Thompson, the district attorney for Brooklyn, New York.
“There’s no backbone in Congress,” Thompson said, speaking at a Reuters Newsmakers event on Monday.
“At the end of the day,” he continued. “The NRA has such a stranglehold on our representatives in the House and the US Senate.”
Thompson called gun violence a “national crisis.” He highlighted that almost 2,200 people have been shot in Chicago so far in 2016.
Part of the problem, according to Thompson, is that even in states with strict gun laws, like New York, most of the guns recovered at crime scenes were initially purchased in states with weaker gun laws.
Thompson noted that in the past 20 years, the last seven police officers “shot and killed in the line of duty,” in New York City were shot with guns that came “from some other states” like Georgia and South Carolina.
Thompson also said that we need to label these shootings as acts of domestic terrorism. He pointed to a shooting in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, where five young people were wounded and an unborn baby was killed.
“The pregnant woman was shot five times,” Thompson said. “And she lost her baby. I think that was a domestic act of terrorism.”
Thompson was joined on stage by Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy, former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, and Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.
Malloy said that racist policies have a strong effect in how gun violence is treated by lawmakers.
“If the white community had been subjected to the level of crime, in Brooklyn, that the black community was subjected to,” Malloy said. “We would have changed laws and our approach to criminal justice a lot faster.”
Kelly said that the increased militarization of police forces across the country is “bad optics,” and isn’t the way we “should do civil policing in this country.”
“You saw it in Ferguson,” Kelly continued. “So I think militarised police forces should be eliminated. It doesn’t look right.”
Thompson became the first African-American district attorney in Kings County in 2013 when he ran a campaign critical of many New York police policies.
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