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National Zoo plans increased security after gunfire last year

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Sweeping new security measures -- including possibly metal detectors – are proposed for the National Zoo in the wake of violence at major events.

More than 25,000 visitors can pass through zoo gates on a busy day.

And violence has broken out on more than one occasion. Last year, two young people were wounded by gunfire on Easter Monday.

Now, after almost a year of meetings, the zoo is poised to enact new security measures, aimed at stopping those guns from blasting outside its gates.

According to the zoo and those familiar with the planning, the new controls would be implemented on high volume days and could include metal detectors, bag checks, limiting the number of entrance points, and monitoring capacity levels while reserving the right to restrict access until levels normalize.

β€œIt is no different than what many zoos around the country do in those circumstances and it is very consistent with what the Smithsonian does in general. Everybody is used to their bag checked going into a museum,” says D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh.

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