DC partners with ATF on higher rewards for recovery of ghost guns, modified guns

As homicide rates remain worryingly high in the District — up 12 percent compared to this time last year, according to D.C. police data — the city is raising the monetary incentive to get illegal guns off the street.

While the District offers up to $2,500 for tips that lead to the recovery of illegal guns, the city is partnering with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to raise that reward to $7,500.

“If you know someone who has an illegal gun, or you know where an illegal gun is being stored, we need you to report it and report it as soon as possible,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser, announcing the new effort Monday in Crispus Attucks Park in the Bloomingdale section.

The public can leave an anonymous tip through the city’s tip line at (202) 727-9099 or by texting 50411. More information is available on the police department’s website.

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said the tip needs only to lead to an arrest of a person possessing an illegal handgun, not necessarily a conviction, and that the tipster wouldn’t be required to testify in court.

He also said the police are specifically looking for tips leading to the recovery of ghost guns — which can be bought online and assembled at home and are untraceable — and handguns modified with switches making them fully automatic.

Contee said that tips that lead to the recovery of any illegal weapons will still receive a partial reward.

“Twenty-five percent of the ballistics that we see in the District of Columbia are firearms that are changing hands, moving about through different communities,” Contee said. “How many lives are taken as a result of these firearms and the bullets that are in them?”

The raised reward through the partnership with the ATF will last until the end of the year. After that, the city will continue paying a reward up to 2,500 dollars for tips that result in a firearm recovery and or/arrest.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin joined WTOP in 2021 as an anchor/reporter covering breaking news in the D.C. region. She has loved radio since she was a child and is thrilled to now be part of Washington’s top radio news station.

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