Hyde-Smith, Wicker support law enforcement with Back the Blue Act

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have joined 38 Republican colleagues in introducing legislation to increase penalties for crimes targeted against law enforcement, and to give new tools to officers to protect themselves.

The Back the Blue Act of 2023 (S.1569) was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) as part of National Police Week.

“Growing instances of threats and actual violence against law enforcement and the judiciary is unacceptable,” said Hyde-Smith. “The Back the Blue Act would strengthen the penalties for those actions and give officers more tools to protect themselves.”

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Among other provisions, the Back the Blue Act would:

  • Create 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.
  • Create 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.
  • Clarify that the murder or attempted murder of a law enforcement office or first responder is a statutory aggravating factor for purposes of the federal death penalty.
  • Impose 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.
  • Allow law enforcement officers, subject to limited regulation, to carry firearms into federal facilities and other jurisdictions where such possession is otherwise prohibited.

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day,” Wicker said. “Enacting this legislation would help protect our officers and send a clear message to those who wish them harm.”