Cassidy, Cornyn, Colleagues Introduce Back the Blue Act to Protect our Police
Published 4:40 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), and 27 Senate Republicans today introduced the Back the Blue Act to increase penalties for criminals who target law enforcement officers and provide new tools for officers to protect themselves.
“Our law enforcement risk their lives to keep our communities safe. They deserve our support,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Back the Blue Act protects those keeping us safe by deterring criminals who target police.”
“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to serve families across Texas,” said Senator Cornyn. “Violent criminals who target those who protect our communities should face swift and tough penalties, and the Back the Blue Act sends that clear message.”
Cassidy and Cornyn were joined by U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Rick Scott (R-FL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Katie Britt (R-AL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), James Lankford (R-OK), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Thune (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ted Budd (R-NC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tim Scott (R-SC), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Background on the Back the Blue Act:
Strengthens Laws to Protect Police Officers
- Creates a new federal crime for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to the death penalty and a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if death results; the offender would otherwise face a minimum sentence of 10 years.
- Creates a new federal crime for assaulting a federally funded law enforcement officer with escalating penalties, including mandatory minimums, based on the extent of any injury and the use of a dangerous weapon. However, no prosecution can be commenced absent certification by the Attorney General that prosecution is appropriate.
- Creates a new federal crime for interstate flight from justice to avoid prosecution for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for this offense.
Creates a Specific Aggravating Factor for Federal Death Penalty Prosecutions
- Clarifies that the murder or attempted murder of a law enforcement officer or first responder is a statutory aggravating factor for purposes of the federal death penalty.
Limits Federal Habeas Relief for Murders of Law Enforcement Officers
- Imposes time limits and substantive limits on federal courts’ review of challenges to state-court convictions for crimes involving the murder of a public safety officer, when the public safety officer was engaged in the performance of official duties or on account of the performance of official duties. These changes are consistent with the fast-track procedures created in 1996, which are applied to federal death penalty cases.
Expands Self-Defense and Second Amendment Rights for Law Enforcement Officers
- Allows law enforcement officers, subject to limited regulation, to carry firearms into federal facilities and other jurisdictions where such possession is otherwise prohibited.