FOX 66 News at Ten
In the wake of a rash of shootings in the city of Saginaw, one causing injury to a 4-year-old and another resulting in the death of 12-year-old Tamaris "TJ" Steward, a local politician is looking to increase the penalties for those responsible for drive-by shootings.
State Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes has introduced House bills 5736 and 5737, which would increase penalties for drive-by shootings or any other reckless shooting, and increase penalties for firing a weapon in a reckless fashion.
"It is incumbent upon elected officials to not only decry acts of violence, but to stand up and say that we will not tolerate these kinds of actions," Oakes said. "There is absolutely no place in our society for bad actors who prey on the innocent and keep the community stricken with fear."
The proposed bills also create enhanced penalties for violations that cause injury to a victim.
"Clearly, the current penalty of up to four years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $2,000 for shooting from an automobile is insufficient to deter this type of violence," Oakes said on Tuesday. "I believe that a better approach would be to tie the severity of the penalty to the level of injuries incurred by the victims of such shootings and apply this standard to other reckless shootings."
The Democrat, who represents the 95th District, continued, saying "As a gun owner myself, it is essential that reckless handling of firearms is addressed."
The bills would place the maximum term of imprisonment for these crimes in the corresponding section of the sentencing guidelines. Specifically, they would increase the penalty for violation to an automatic sentence of 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000. Any physical injury of another individual would be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years and/or a fine of not more than $15,000, with serious impairment of a body function would be punishable by up to 20 years in prison and possibly a fine of not more than $25,000.
Causing the death of another would be, as it is now in the state's criminal code, punishable by imprisonment for life.
"I, for one, refuse to accept this rash of violence was the status quo. As the mother of two young boys, I will work tirelessly to ensure that our community is a safe place to raise a family," Oakes said. "It is my hope that these bills will receive broad, bipartisan support and that we can work together to see these bills passed swiftly."
Copyright WNEM 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, June 13 2012, 08:50 AM EDT
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