Source: Jeffrey Cawood
A California state assembly committee gave its stamp of approval on April 27 to legislation that would significantly soften sentences for people convicted of some firearm offenses, with proponents saying laws against using guns in the commission of crimes disproportionately affect people of color.
The Assembly Public Safety Committee voted 6-2 to approve the Anti-Racism Sentencing Reform Act, though the proposal still has several hurdles to clear before becoming law.
Assemblyman Alex Lee’s office said he agreed to co-sponsor the bill “to correct decades of harm done to communities of color.” Staffers recently created a “fact sheet” that argues imposing stiffer sentencing laws added on to the charge of an underlying offense drives up incarceration rates, crowds prisons, and serves as “a legal monument to racism.”
“If a gun is used during a violent felony offense – such as a robbery – California’s ‘10-20-Life’ gun enhancement applies,” it said. “A 10-year enhancement is available for any use of a gun, which is increased to 20 years if the gun is discharged, and to 25-to-life if great bodily injury or death occurs.”
AB 1509, as the bill is known, would eliminate the use of most gun enhancements and significantly reduce the others, modifying them from 10-20-life to 1-2-3 years.