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State Senator Proposes Stiffer Penalties For Gun Crimes

Last updated on Thursday, July 10, 2014

(INDIANAPOLIS) - In the wake of the shooting deaths of two Indiana police officers, an Indianapolis state senator plans to reintroduce a bill increasing and expanding automatic prison time for criminals who use a gun.

State law already calls for an automatic five-year sentence, on top of the sentence for the crime itself, if a gunman seriously injures a victim. Republican State Senator Jim Merritt has introduced a bill to extend that to burglary, robbery, and sex crimes, whether anyone's hurt or not - and to make the automatic sentence 20 years instead of five.

In the last session of the General Assembly, legislators passed a compromise version letting judges tack on anywhere from five to 20 years for the same crimes covered by the old law.

Merritt says the more severe version took a back seat to the final steps in a complete revision of Indiana's criminal code.

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