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Archive for Thursday, March 1, 2007

Law enforcement pushes, but lawmakers resist, tougher gun penalties

March 1, 2007

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— A measure that would add years to prison sentences if the offender had a gun was pushed hard Wednesday by law enforcement.

"This bill sends the right message," Allen County Sheriff Tom Williams told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "All crime is bad, but if you add a gun to the equation, we are going to hammer you."

Law enforcement officials also said the law may act as to deter some offenders from picking up a gun.

But defense attorneys and key legislators said Senate Bill 248 had serious flaws.

Jennifer Roth, with the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the measure was unconstitutional because the determination of whether a person had a firearm wouldn't necessarily be submitted to a jury and require the finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Chairman Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, said there are now laws that allow prosecutors to increase charges if a weapon is involved in a crime.

The proposed bill would remove some of that discretion, he said.

Vratil also said he was concerned that the effect of the law would increase the need for more prison capacity.

Comments

Stephen 7 years, 10 months ago

Look for an increase of people getting pushed out of windows. I don't think Joe 6 pack is going to think about the letter of the law when it comes to drumming up crime.

prioress 7 years, 10 months ago

Whatever; let's see the fiscal note; legislators love to toss folks in jail forever; the sheeple don't want to pay for it...let's make up our minds, folks.

hornhunter 7 years, 9 months ago

Windlass, Just what are you triing to say by this, 'Guns would be "checked out" but they would be "checked in" again'? Are you triing to say that we should allow big brother to lock up our guns but when we want to taregt practice or hunt with them we need to go and ask to play with them? If so, Don't come running to me when Billy Bad Ass comes sneaking across our borders and comes to town and starts shooting things up. Don't take me wrong, but when Joe BLow bring a gun into a bar or any other public place that is a whole different box of shells. Don't just throw the box back at him and scare him, make it hurt, put him away in jail for a long time. Don't just make more laws to cover laws that are already there, use what we have in place now.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 9 months ago

"Guns, today, are all about people who are not peaceable citizens, but killers of seemingly no one inparticular, but everyone in general." Tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners would disagree with you on that.

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