Abbott Calls For Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Criminals Carrying Guns Illegally

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By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)

Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison for criminals carrying guns illegally after San Antonio Police Department officers arrested individuals for taking over streets in the city.

San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus tweeted Sunday that on Saturday night, “street racers showed up in San Antonio. However, they didn’t all leave, and some left without all the property they came with.”

His officers, working with Texas DPS troopers, he said, made multiple arrests, seized multiple firearms, and impounded vehicles, including one that was stolen.

The street takeovers occurred near South Park Mall north of Kelly Field and in the far west side of the city, according to SAPD. Four people were arrested: two for unlawful carrying a weapon and two for possession of marijuana under two ounces. One was also charged with possession of a controlled substance. Four vehicles were impounded, including a stolen vehicle, SAPD said.

In response, Abbott tweeted, “Great job by San Antonio Police making arrests for street takeover events. Among the four arrests, two were for unlawful carrying of a weapon. Once again criminals caught carrying guns illegally. I want a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for that.”

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Passing mandatory minimum sentences is also a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who identified SB 23, Creating A Mandatory 10-Year Prison Sentence for Criminals Committing Gun Crime, as one of his 30 legislative priorities this legislative session.

Filed by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, the bill would amend state penal code to increase the penalty for certain felony offenses committed with a firearm, for a first-, second- or third- degree felony, to a minimum of 10 years in prison. The bill also changes the eligibility for “community supervision and parole for certain felony offenses in which a firearm is used or exhibited,” according to the bill language.

She also filed SB 740 to prevent counties with a population of more than one million people from defunding their district or county attorneys. It adds to a bill she filed last legislative session, which Abbott signed into law to prevent the state’s most populous counties from defunding their law enforcement agencies’ budgets. This would ensure they don’t do the same with their district attorneys’ offices.

She also filed a joint resolution, SJR 44, with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, that would “authorize the denial of bail under limited circumstances to a person accused of a violent or sexual offense or of continuous trafficking of persons to ensure the person’s appearance in court, and most importantly, the safety of the community, law enforcement, and the victim of the alleged offense.”

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Proposing a constitutional amendment to allow judges to deny bail for the most violent offenders is another of Abbott’s emergency legislative items.

Abbott’s continued to prioritize legislation that includes tougher criminal penalties and continued support for law enforcement. Last month, he announced the creation of a new street takeover task force to combat the rise of criminals who’ve been increasingly obstructing roads, driving recklessly, causing violence and endangering the public and law enforcement officers.

He, Patrick and Huffman have also vowed to increase penalties for fentanyl-related crimes, with addressing the fentanyl crisis as another emergency item identified by Abbott.

Huffman filed SB 2344 that would amend state law to allow prosecutors to charge individuals with murder who knowingly manufacture or deliver fentanyl that causes the death of a user.

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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