Hello District Neighbors,
Last week, we won a major victory for District residents and public safety: a court permanently banned ghost gun manufacturer Polymer80 from selling untraceable firearms and build-at-home gun kits to DC residents. And the court ordered Polymer80 to pay $4 million in penalties—the maximum allowable penalties—for breaking District law.
In recent years, we’ve seen an exponential increase in gun violence and the number of ghost guns recovered in the streets. These weapons are unlicensed and do not have serial numbers—making them untraceable and available to those who could not pass a background check.
We filed a lawsuit against Polymer80 back in 2020 to get these deadly weapons off our streets. We were the first attorney general’s office in the country to file such a lawsuit. Other states and cities have since followed our lead and filed similar suits. Our win in this case will help slow the flow of deadly untraceable ghost guns into our community. This victory against Polymer80 is just one part of our larger effort to improve public safety and reduce gun violence. As the District continues to face a gun violence epidemic, my office is doing everything in our power to keep DC residents safe.
We are implementing innovative, data-driven approaches to respond when people break the law, addressing the root causes of crime to get people on the right path, supporting needed federal action to regulate these weapons at the national level, and—like we did in this case—directly using the law to reduce the number of guns on our streets. And we’ll continue working every day to make the District safer for all our residents.
Supporting Migrants in the District of Columbia
Last week, we announced a grant program to provide immediate assistance to vulnerable migrants transported to DC. The Texas and Arizona Governors’ decision to transport asylum-seeking migrants to the District—many of whom have no ties to the community or support here—is causing a humanitarian crisis, and we are answering the call for help. This program offers financial support to local nonprofits already on the front lines who have shouldered the burden of providing basic needs and services, including housing, food, transportation, and legal assistance. These nonprofits are understandably strained and simply cannot be expected to carry this responsibility alone.
Without critical services, these vulnerable people are likely to face significant harm, including potential threats to their safety. We will soon be announcing the organizations that will be receiving this funding, and our team will continue to seek out more ways to support those seeking asylum in our community.
Watch Fox 5’s interview with OAG Chief Deputy Attorney General Vikram Swaruup to learn more about these grants.
Safeguarding Nonprofit Funds
Over the last month, we have taken legal action to address the failure of Casa Ruby, a local nonprofit organization, to carry out its mission of supporting LGBTQ+ youth. Our investigation found a clear pattern of mismanagement, poor oversight, and improper use of charitable donations and District government grants. Since we filed our case, the court granted our motion to freeze Casa Ruby’s bank accounts to stop improper use of nonprofit funds. It also approved our request to appoint a temporary receiver to take over Casa Ruby’s operations and help make sure funds are used for their intended purpose: providing transitional housing and support to vulnerable LGBTQ+ youth. Read more about the progress we’ve already made in this case in the Washington Post.
Standing Up for LGBTQ+ Rights
Across the nation, we’re seeing an alarming increase in efforts to prevent LGBTQ+ people, including children, from simply being who they are and loving who they love. In recent weeks, I led a coalition of 16 AGs opposing Florida’s recent “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans discussion of sexual orientation or gender in schools. I also joined 20+ AGs standing up for the rights of transgender youth and opposing an Indiana school District’s attempt to deny a trans boy access to restrooms that match his gender identity.
These laws and policies offer no benefit to students and serve only as a further attempt to diminish, discriminate against, and harm the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone deserves to live free from discrimination. We will continue to advocate for LGBTQ+ people—including LGBTQ+ youth—in the District and across the country by using every tool at our disposal to fight discriminatory, hateful policies.
Supporting Children & Parents During Child Support Awareness Month 2022
August is Child Support Awareness Month, and we are holding several events to highlight the importance of providing every child and family with the support they need to thrive and setting up our next generation for success. We know that when parents meet their child support responsibilities, the child poverty rate decreases and child wellbeing increases. Join us at one of our upcoming events:
- Friday, August 19 at 10:00am: “Hoop Dreams: Former NBA Players Share Their Stories on Balancing Fatherhood, Healthy Co-Parenting, Child Support, and Fame.” Join here: http://shorturl.at/aBHW1
- Wednesday, August 31: “Workforce Service Alternative Solutions Center Job Fair & Hiring Event” Join here: http://shorturl.at/aBHW1
Learn more about child support and resources available to District parents on our Child Support Services Division’s website.
Consumer Alert: District Residents Defrauded by ITT Technical Institute Will Have Student Debt Cancelled
ITT Technical Institute preyed on people’s dreams of having a career and achieving financial success by employing aggressive, deceptive marketing and recruitment techniques to encourage students to enroll. When this for-profit school then closed its doors, thousands of students were trapped under insurmountable debt. Now, the US Department of Education has announced that it will cancel all loan debt of the students who were systemically defrauded by ITT Tech. As a result, hundreds of District residents will receive approximately $4 million in student loan forgiveness. Read about debt cancellation for ITT Tech students nationwide here.
Sign up to Receive a Report From our Office
I know many of you are loyal readers of this newsletter—because, among other reasons, you made it this far down! If you’re interested in learning more about our office and our work, I invite you to sign up to receive the physical copy of our office’s report this fall. It will provide information on where you can report everything from consumer protection violations to acts of discrimination. It will also show how far the office has come in the last seven years and will include a special message from me as I reflect on my time as Attorney General.