July 20, 2009
Norris Law Attacks Repeat Offenders
-Signed into law on July 16, 2009 and became PC
(NASHVILLE, TN), July 20, 2009 – Governor Phil Bredesen recently signed two bills sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) that strengthens
Tennessee’s Crooks with Guns Law. One bill adds attempted first degree murder to Tennessee’s Crooks with Guns Law, while the second measure keeps repeat violent criminals convicted of aggravated burglary behind bars longer by counting each felony committed within a 24-hour period as a separate offense.
“I am pleased that in a very tough financial year, we were able to pass an initiative to address violent crime in Tennessee,” said Norris, who is also a member of the Finance Committee which hears all legislation impacting the state’s budget. “The bill as passed, contained about 80 percent of our original proposal, which is extraordinary considering the cost of the measure and total decrease in state expenditures.”
Norris sponsored the original “Crooks with Guns” legislation that made it an additional offense to posses a firearm when committing a list of dangerous felonies like aggravated and especially aggravated kidnapping, burglary, stalking, carjacking, voluntary manslaughter, and certain drug crimes. Tennessee ranks second in the nation in the number of violent crimes. The legislation passed this year is the second cycle of bills addressing this problem.
The first bill signed into law adds a minimum of three years to the sentence of a violator who possesses a firearm during the commission of attempted first-degree murder, to be served after the underlying offense. If a violator possesses a firearm during the commission of the attempted first-degree murder and has a prior felony conviction, then a mandatory minimum of five years would be added to the sentence. In addition, if a violator possesses a firearm during the commission or an attempt to commit a dangerous felony or attempting to escape, then a mandatory minimum of six years is added to the sentence to be served after the underlying offense. A prior felony conviction from this would add 10 years onto the sentence.
The second bill requires all aggravated burglaries a defendant commits within a 24-hour period to be counted as separate prior convictions for purposes of determining whether the defendant is a multiple, persistent, or career offender under the Criminal Sentencing Reform Act.
“The safety of our citizens should be a priority of state government,” added Norris. “These are not petty criminals. These are hardened criminals who use a firearm in the commission of a crime. Both of these bills aim to make our communities safer by keeping these violent repeat offenders off the street where they are no longer a danger to the public.”
If imposing harsher penalties on repeat offenders is a concern of yours, watch this http://www.wreg.com/wreg-promo-repeattnst,0,2938589.story and tune in to Channel 3 for a two part series on repeat offenders, tonight at 10:00 and tomorrow at 5:00.