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New Bill To Introduce Longer Sentences For Gun Crimes

Last updated on Thursday, January 2, 2014

(UNDATED) - A run of highly publicized home-invasion robberies in the last two months has prompted a proposal to require longer sentences for gun crimes.

Current law allows judges to tack on an extra five years in prison for violent crimes if the offender uses a gun. Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) says he'll introduce a bill to boost that to 20 years, and make it mandatory. He says judges and prosecutors need an additional tool to make their communities safer and make offenders think twice about committing the crimes.

Merritt acknowledges the proposal could face fiscal concerns in the legislature. Mandatory minimum sentences drive up prison costs by putting more people behind bars. But he says the recent home invasions have left people fearing for their safety, and says the legislature needs to "start the conversation" about how to address it.

Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) will sponsor the bill in the House if it passes the Senate.

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