Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kansas Senate panel OKs stiffer sentences for armed drug felons

This legislation could potentially add one to two years to a drug crime sentence when a firearm is involved. It was initially written to extend sentences five to ten years but a fiscal note to the Judiciary Committee led to an adjustment. One can only hope a bill like this will fail to pass the full body. It is unclear from reading the bill whether this sentencing enhancement would preclude a defendant from being charged separately with criminal possession of a firearm.

It seems that this law is designed to increase the sentence of an offender under false pretense. Firearms are rarely used to commit drug felonies because coercion is not part of drug transactions. Sen. Terry Bruce gives some insight into the rationale behind the bill with this statement from the Kansas Liberty.

"Drugs and violence seem to beget one another, and we definitely want to interrupt that relationship and let drug dealers know that the violence they bring into the community will have an added weight. Its bad enough they are selling narcotics and ruining people’s lives, but then by bringing a firearm along they are also endangering the lives of community members."

Prohibition and violence definitely beget one another. It is always striking to me how lawmakers can blame drug dealers for ruining people lives. They rarely if ever apply the same logic to alcoholic beverage producers. The use of a firearm by a drug dealer endangers public safety, but the mere possession of one does not.


Blogger Philosocracy said...

I too find it curious that the use of alcohol is not only "socially-sanctioned," but is encouraged... through advertisements. And yet, the use of cannabis is so frowned upon. People are curious creatures.

June 20, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

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