U.S. Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE), Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Steve Stivers (R-OH) joined Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) Tuesday to introduce legislation that would give greater protections to federally funded public service officers.
The Back the Blue Act creates new criminal provisions for killing, attempting, or conspiring to kill U.S. judges, law enforcement officers, firefighters, chaplains, and members of rescue squads or ambulance crews. If passed, the law initiates a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if a death occurs while making the offender subject to the death penalty. If a death does not occur, the offender would face a 10-year minimum sentence.
“Those who protect our communities – whether it’s on the beat, from the bench, behind a hose, or performing CPR – deserve extra protection from violence directed at them, including assault, intent to kill, or conspiracy to kill,” Bacon said. “The anger and violence have risen against these community guardians, and this legislation is needed now.”
Additionally, the legislation creates a new federal crime with escalating penalties, including mandatory minimums for assaulting a federally funded law enforcement officer, based on the extent of the officers’ injuries and the use of weapons. A convicted offender who attempts to flee from justice to avoid prosecution would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
The law also creates a specific aggravating factor for federal death penalty prosecutions while expanding self-defense and Second Amendment rights for law enforcement officers and opening up grant funding to strengthen police/community relationships.
“This legislation creates new – long overdue, and unfortunately necessary – criminal provisions to protect federal law enforcement officers, federal judges, and federally funded public safety officers that are assaulted, targeted for murder, or killed,” Johnson said.
The legislation was introduced during National Police Week.
“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve families across Texas,” Cornyn said. “Violent criminals who deliberately target those who protect and serve our communities should face swift and tough penalties, and the Back the Blue Act sends that clear message. Every day, and particularly during National Police Week, we must give the men and women in blue our unparalleled support.”