Mayor Marion Barry signed legislation requiring a five-year prison sentence for anyone carrying a handgun while committing a felony and allowed the new controversial curfew law to take effect without his signature.
At his monthly news conference Wednesday, Barry also confirmed plans to extend the work week of the District's police force to six days for the next five weeks. He estimated the additional work hours would cost $2.6 million and will come out of the police budget.Barry signed the emergency handgun legislation, which was unanimously passed last week by City Council. The law, which takes effect immediately, imposes a five-year mandatory minimum sentence on anyone in possession of a gun or imitation gun while committing a felony. Currently, the mandatory sentence can be imposed only if the gun is actually fired or if the suspect threatened to use it.
"We will be vigorous in our pursuit to reclaim our streets," Barry said. "Five years with no parole, no probation is a long time for anyone."
The curfew legislation, unanimously passed March 4 by the City Council, requires anyone under the age of 18 to be off city's streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekends.