Last year was, tragically, the deadliest on record for police officers in fifty years. Yet in the current atmosphere of anti-police rhetoric, the push in progressive cities to defund the police, and rising crime rates, this year is likely to be deadlier.
So far, more police officers have been shot and killed in the first four and a half months of 2021 than in all of 2020 and all of 2019. Nineteen officers were killed by gunfire. Twenty-three officers were shot in eighteen ambush attacks and eight were killed.
Republicans are taking action to help the police do their job safely, effectively, and professionally. Today, Rep. Don Bacon will introduce the Back the Blue Act and Rep. John Rutherford will introduce the Protect and Serve Act.
These two critical bills would protect those who protect our communities.
Rep. Bacon’s Back the Blue Act would defend the police by:
- Creating 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.
- Creating 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.
- Creating 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.
- Creating a specific Aggravating Factor for Federal Death Penalty Prosecutions
- Expanding Self-Defense and Second Amendment Rights for Law Enforcement Officers
- Opening up Grant Funding to Strengthen Relationships Between Police and Communities
Rep. Rutherford’s Protect and Serve Act would defend the police by:
- Creating enhanced penalties for anyone who targets and purposefully harms law enforcement officers.
- This applies to attacks on any federal officer, or state or local officer if the attacker or officer crosses state lines, uses a channel of interstate commerce, uses a firearm or weapon that traveled in interstate commerce, or if the act affects interstate or foreign commerce.
- Creating a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment for someone who attacks and injures an officer and a penalty of life in prison for someone who kills or kidnaps an officer.
(A reminder: When Republicans were in the majority, the Protect and Service Act passed the House with broad bipartisan support in 2018 by a vote of 382-35.)
Republicans support the brave men and women of law enforcement, especially during National Police Week. While Democrats push to defund the police, we will always work to defend them. We know that defunding the police and other attempts to weaken law enforcement is wrong and dangerous. The evidence from the 22 cities, many of them run by progressive politicians, which defunded the police is clear: fewer law enforcement officers leads to more crime and less public safety.
By protecting those who protect us, we can take a significant step towards an America in which everyone can exercise their right to live safe and free from crime.