Bacon, Johnson and Stivers Introduce Bill to Protect Federal Judges, Law Enforcement and Public Safety Officers
Cornyn Introduces Companion Legislation in Senate
Washington, May 11, 2021
Washington – Reps. Don Bacon (NE-02), Bill Johnson (OH-06), and Steve Stivers (OH-15), today introduced the Back the Blue Act, which seeks to ensure that those who risk their lives to protect others are afforded greater protections. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is introducing similar legislation in the Senate.
This bicameral bill creates new criminal provisions regarding the killing of, or attempting, or conspiring to kill federal law enforcement officers, U.S. judges, and federally funded public safety officers. This includes firefighters, chaplains, and members of a rescue squad or ambulance crew. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if a death occurs, and the offender would be subject to the death penalty. Otherwise, the offender would face a minimum sentence of 10 years.
In addition, the legislation creates a new federal crime with escalating penalties, including mandatory minimums for assaulting a federally funded law enforcement officer, based on the extent of any injury and the use of a dangerous weapon. An offender who attempted to flee from justice to avoid prosecution would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
Finally, it creates a specific aggravating factor for federal death penalty prosecutions; expands self-defense and Second Amendment rights for law enforcement officers; and opens grant funding to strengthen relationships between police and communities.
“Those who protect our communities – whether it’s on the beat, from the bench, behind a hose, or performing CPR – deserve extra protection from violence directed at them, including assault, intent to kill, or conspiracy to kill,” said Bacon. “The anger and violence have risen against these community guardians and this legislation is needed now. I am looking forward to working with Sen. Cornyn and Reps. Johnson and Stivers to get this long-overdue legislation passed into law.”
“This legislation creates new - long overdue, and unfortunately necessary - criminal provisions to protect federal law enforcement officers, federal judges, and federally funded public safety officers that are assaulted, targeted for murder, or killed,” said Johnson. “I’m pleased to co-sponsor this important legislation that would provide more protection for the men and women who serve all of us. Thank you to Representative Bacon and Senator Cornyn for leading the charge to get this bill signed into law.”
“It is our duty to support law enforcement officers, firefighters, judges, rescue squads, and all others in the blue line so that they can give their all to support others,” said Stivers. “Thankfully, this bill will give them that protection that they desperately need. I am extremely grateful for those who wake up every day to protect our neighborhoods in Central Ohio and across the country.”
“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve families across Texas. Violent criminals who deliberately target those who protect and serve our communities should face swift and tough penalties and the Back the Blue Act sends that clear message. Every day, and particularly during National Police Week, we must give the men and women in blue our unparalleled support,” Sen. Cornyn said.