North Carolina has experienced “a perfect storm of challenges” over the past two years of the pandemic.
Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry told members of a U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday that rising poverty and increased access to firearms has led to a devastating rise in violence.
“Increases in poverty are closely linked to increases in crime as stress and desperation make people more likely to see crime as their best or only option,” Deberry testified. “At the same time, Americans purchased guns in record numbers — more than 40 million over that last two years, worsening this nation’s gun epidemic.”
Deberry said that even as newly purchased firearms were used in more crimes, many states eased access to and regulation of guns.
At the same time, the Durham DA told the congressional panel that there has been an erosion of trust and confidence in the criminal legal system, particularly between law enforcement and people of color.
“We have to stop pretending reform is the real threat to public safety and recognize how over-reliance on prosecution and incarceration may make us less safe. We do not need to “choose” between reform and public safety – those two objectives are inherently linked,” Deberry said.
Poverty, gun accessibility looms large in congressional effort to reimagine public safety in the COVID era https://t.co/4wUomjHUW4 via @ncpolicywatch #ncpol #ncga #Congress #PublicSafety #Policing #Durham #Guns
— NC Policy Watch (@NCPolicyWatch) March 9, 2022