Washington state Reps. Tarra Simmons (D) and David Hackney (D) are pushing legislation to remove drive-by shootings from the list of crimes that elevate first degree to murder to a higher degree of murder carrying a mandatory life sentence.
FOX News reports that “drive-by shootings were added to the list of aggravating factors for murder charges in 1995.” At the time, drive-by shootings were one of a number of crimes that would elevate charges and Simmons and Hackney are now working to remove such shootings from the list.
The 1995 language that Simmons and Hackney want to specifically strike from the aggravating factors list says: “The murder was committed during the course of or as a result of a shooting where the discharge of the firearm… is either from a motor vehicle or from the immediate area of a motor vehicle that was used to transport the shooter or the firearm.”
Simmons says she believes the language surrounding drive-by shootings “was targeted at gangs that were predominantly young and Black.”
She added, “I believe in a society that believes in the power of redemption. Murder is murder no matter where the bullet comes from but locking young people up and throwing away the key is not the answer.”
Simmons points to Kimonti Carter as a example of why she wants to remove drive-by shootings from the aggravating factors list. Carter was convicted in a drive-by shooting that left two people dead in 1997. He received a 777-year sentence and Simmons said, “If he had been standing outside of the vehicle at the time, he would’ve faced 240-320 months in prison. Instead, he was sentenced to life in prison with no opportunity for parole because of this law.”
770 KTTH points out that Simmons and Hackney’s pushed to strike drive-by shootings from the aggravating factors list is posited as a pursuit of “racial equity in the criminal legal system.”
On July 22, 2021, KIRO 7 noted a surge of gun violence in Seattle and quoted Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diazwas saying, “We’ve seen more than a 100% increase in drive-by shootings this year alone.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a Turning Point USA Ambassador. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.