Two Texas Republicans have introduced legislation that would increase penalties against people who intentionally attack law enforcement officers.
The "Back the Blue Act," from Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Ted Poe, would make it a federal crime to kill, attempt to kill or conspire to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer or federally funded public safety officer. The legislation would create a mandatory minimum of 30 years if any of these officials were killed, and possibly the death penalty.
"The dastardly criminals who intentionally target those who serve the thin blue line must not be allowed to walk free. The Back the Blue Act increases the punishment for those who seek to harm our peace officers. Today, Congress is sending the message that blue lives matter," Poe said in a statement.
Cornyn noted in a statement that introducing the legislation comes during the perfect time, National Police Week.
Poe introduced similar legislation last summer in response to targeted police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La. in July. However, "Back the Blue Act of 2016" never passed into law.
The latest legislation would also limit habeas relief for appeals of state court convictions against people who kill a law enforcement officer. In addition, law enforcement officers would be able to carry firearms into federal facilities and other jurisdictions where such possession is usually not allowed.
According to a Brady Campaign report released Monday, 135 law enforcement officers were killed in 2016. The year also saw the highest number of ambush-style police shootings in more than two decades.
As of the report's release, 15 law enforcement officers have been shot and killed so far in 2017.