Republicans Push For “New” Death Penalty

Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

On Thursday, Senator Cornyn (Texas), led a group of 37 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to introduce the Back the Blue Act. This law would create a new federal crime with tougher penalties for those who kill, attempt to kill, or conspire to kill law enforcement officers, federal judges, or federally funded public safety officers.

Cornyn has stated that those who target law enforcement agents, who work to keep communities safe, should face stricter penalties. He added that under the Back the Blue Act those offenders whose attack results in a federal officer dying would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and might even face the death penalty. In other cases, the minimum sentence would be 10 years.

Under the GOP proposal, attacking a federal officer would fall under a new federal crime with higher penalties, including mandatory minimums that might change based on the injury sustained and how dangerous the weapon used was.

The bill is not only looking to punish offenders but also to extend self-defense protection for law enforcement officers. As such, under the new bill, law enforcement officers would be allowed to carry firearms into federal facilities and other jurisdictions with a few limitations.

A version of this bill was first introduced by Cornyn in 2016 following the killing of five police officers in a shooting in Dallas. The bill specifically notes that the murder or attempted murder of a law enforcement officer or first responder is considered a statutory aggravating factor and could allow the federal death penalty to be applied.