Norris Passes “Crooks with Guns” Legislation

June 12, 2007

Norris Passes “Crooks with Guns”

     NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) passed landmark law enforcement legislation through the Senate Monday.Senate Bill 1967, “Crooks with Guns”, sponsored in the House by Representative John DeBerry (D-Memphis), imposes harsher sentences on criminals using firearms in violent crimes.  The bill includes harsher penalties in respect to repeat offenders using firearms during the commission of violent crimes.

“Tennessee ranks second in the nation for the number of violent crimes. These criminals are often repeat offenders.  This legislation will stifle their criminal activities by keeping them in prison longer.  Current sentencing guidelines stipulate that many violent criminals serve only 30% of their sentences. That is unacceptable. This mandates a minimum 85% sentence,” said Norris.

Violent crimes including murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, stalking and others are all too common occurrences in many communities across the state. Norris presented the bill in the Senate members with the Chiefs of police of Nashville and Memphis by his side on the Senate floor.

Norris stated, “This legislation has such broad support.  Republicans and Democrats alike want to see crime in their communities diminish.  I am happy to see that the Senate has put partisan differences aside and presented a united front against violent crime today.”

The price tag on “Crooks with Guns” is $23.6 million. “This is the largest investment in crime fighting legislation by the state of Tennessee in more than a decade,” said Norris.

In closing Norris stated, “This legislation really connects with people.  I think that it pinpoints a problem that has too long been rampant in our communities.  People who commit violent crimes with guns and continue to do so again and again need to be punished accordingly.  This bill is a step in that direction.”

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