Democratic legislators from Washington state have recently introduced a bill to reduce penalties for drive by shooting murderers. This is despite the fact that Washington has been ranked amongst the worst states for drive-by killings.
Sponsored by Democratic representatives Tarra Simmons and David Hackney, the House Bill 1692, was proposed to “promote racial equity in the criminal legal system by eliminating drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating murder in the first degree to aggravated murder in the first degree.”
The bill is actually considered an amendment to the existing RCW 10.95.020.
Simmons was a former drug addict who spent time in prison and advocated prison reform during her campaign. She eventually became the first felon to be elected to the Washington State legislature in November 2020.
We just made #herstory in WA State! Beyond grateful to my team, volunteers and donors who made the impossible happen. From the Big House to the State House…We Do Recover! #LetMyPeopleRun #EndMassIncarceration pic.twitter.com/IGcqFVRCXW— Tarra Simmons (@TarraSimmons5) November 4, 2020
Simmons said in a statement that the drive-by shooting charge of aggravated murder has been used only once since 1995, when it was made law in the case Kimonti Carter. Carter was eleven years old when he joined a gang and committed car theft, burglary, drug possession and many other crimes.
Back in 1997, Carter was sentenced to life without parole for his participation in a drive-by shooting that killed a college student in Tacoma.
The House Public Safety Committee, a Republican committee, expressed grave concerns about the proposed legislation filed December 23rd, just before the 2022 legislative session.
They warned that HB1692 would intensify the lawlessness that the state has already been facing since the new shocking police reform laws were enforced in July. Additionally, lawmakers stated that a lower sentence for violent crimes would encourage criminals rather than hold them accountable.
“Violent crime is on the rise in our communities, in part, because law enforcement officers do not believe under new laws passed by the Legislature earlier this year that they have the authority to detain or pursue individuals, for whom they reasonably suspect have committed criminal acts. It was reported during the summer that at least nine drive-by shootings in the Yakima area this year have left a trail of injuries, deaths and traumatized neighborhoods,” Republican representative Gina Mosbrucker said in a statement.
This horrific crime is happening more and more across our state, taking the lives of innocent victims, destroying their families, and leaving neighborhoods and communities in fear,” Mosbrucker added.