WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia Council, in an emergency action aimed at drug-related violence, voted Tuesday to require that people convicted of using guns in committing crimes must be sentenced to five years in prison.
It also approved a bill, intended to improve the district's before-trial detention program, to allow judges to refuse bond for suspects in violent crimes even if they have no criminal record.
"This is an emergency bill and requires a lot of debate, but these are emergency times," council member James Nathanson said.
The emergency measure, to remain in effect for 90 days before a review, came as the city sought to slow the pace of drug-related killings. Police say that about 60% of last year's record 372 homicides were drug-related. So far this year, 98 people have been slain in the district, 43 more than during the equivalent period of 1988.