(CNSNews.com) — On Feb. 16, Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) reintroduced the Thin Blue Line Act, which would consider various threats to a police officer’s life as an aggravating factor in favor of maximizing sentences. In a statement of support, Braun said, “There is a war on our cops, and it’s time we raise the price of targeting them.”
“There is a war on our cops, and it’s time we raise the price of targeting them,” said Braun. “The Thin Blue Line Act will make targeting or killing a police officer in a violent crime an aggravating factor in favor of the harshest penalties we have.”
“President Biden said in his State of the Union speech last week that police officers put their lives on the line every day, and that we ask them to do too much,” added Braun. “I agree, and as cities continue to encourage crime by going easy on violent criminals, I’m calling on President Biden to announce his support for this legislation to increase the penalties for those who try to kill cops.”
The Thin Blue Line Act was originally introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee in April 2021 by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.). The bill makes the “targeting, killing, or attempted killing of a police officer an aggravating factor in favor of maximum sentences.” It also extends to other first responders and prosecutors.
Juries in federal law enforcement cases currently consider “aggravating factors” that determine whether to impose the death penalty. The Thin Blue Line Act seeks to provide the “same level of justice” as federal law enforcement cases to local and state police.
Senator Braun’s press release states, “Current law states that if the murder victim is a federal law enforcement officer or federal prosecutor, this fact shall weigh as an aggravating factor in favor of maximum penalty.”
The Thin Blue Line Act will also enhance the penalty for the criminal if it is determined that the attack on a first responder or prosecutor was carried out “solely because that individual has chosen to protect and serve.”
Braun’s decision comes after Indiana police officer Noah Shahnavaz was killed by a career violent felon who had been previously put in prison for aggression against police officers.
In January 2023, 34 police officers were shot in the line of duty. According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, this is an 89% increase in number of officers shot in the same month of 2021 and a 113% increase from 2020.
Violence against police officers has grown at an alarming rate between the years 2018-2022. During this five-year span, 1,519 police officers have been shot in the line of duty and 276 have been shot and killed.
The bill is currently cosponsored by nine other senators, all of whom are Republican:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)
Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.)
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.)
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
The bill is also endorsed by multiple police groups including the National Fraternal Order of Police, National Troopers Coalition, National Association of Police Organizations, and National Council of Prison Locals.
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