Target Guns First

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Regarding the Jan. 21 front-page story "D.C. Teen Is Killed at U Street Area Nightclub; Victim, a Bystander, Is Shot in Scuffle":

If the District expects to lower its crime rate and protect its youth from similar accidents, it needs to get its priorities straight. After this murder, acting Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier closed the club temporarily, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) called for more aggressive policing of underage clubs and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said he would introduce legislation barring minors from nightclubs where alcohol is served. These responses reflect the District's blatant failure to address the real problem: enforcement of its prohibition on handguns.

Laws on underage drinking should be enforced, but the overarching priority should be safety -- preventing brawls and making sure customers are not armed.

In this instance, the 17-year-old wasn't even the intended target. Stricter enforcement of underage drinking laws and banning minors from clubs would not have prevented this situation. It just would have meant that the loss would have been borne by a family whose child was 21 or older.



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