Washington State Lawmakers Offer to Ease Drive-by Shooting Sentencing for Sake of 'Racial Equity'

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Bullet hole  - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.12.2021
Currently, drive-by shootings are on the list of aggravating factors for murder charges, along with murder of law enforcement officers, murders committed by inmates in prison, and murder-for-hire schemes.
Democratic lawmakers in Washington State have rolled out a bill proposing to reduce penalties for drive-by shootings, removing them as a basis for enhanced murder charges, asserting that the legislation would "promote racial equity".
The amendments proposed in the bill would consider murders that were "committed during the course of or as a result of a shooting where the discharge of the firearm…is either from a motor vehicle or from the immediate area of a motor vehicle that was used to transport the shooter or the firearm".
The bill was introduced by Democratic Representatives Tarra Simmons and David Hackney.

"I believe in a society that believes in the power of redemption", Simmons told Fox News Digital in a statement. "Murder is murder no matter where the bullet comes from but locking young people up and throwing away the key is not the answer".

The sentiment did not appear to sit well with many social media users, who took to Twitter to lambast Washington State's proposals as "insane" and failing to address the root causes of both racism and shootings.
It was the urge to "promote racial equity" that specifically triggered some people.
According to the lawmaker, the aggravating factor in drive-by shootings "was targeted at gangs that were predominantly young and black". Simmons told Fox News that this factor has only been used once since being introduced in 1995, in the case of Kimonti Carter, who had been part of a gang since he was 11 years old and participated in a drive-by shooting in 1997 at the age of 18. The shooting left one person dead and two others wounded.
The lawmaker referred to this example, saying that Carter, who ended up receiving 777 years in prison, would only have been sentenced to 240-320 months behind bars "if he had been standing outside of the vehicle at the time".

"This law's history and application…is what we mean when we talk about systemic racism", she claimed.

Drive-by shootings are on the list of aggravating factors that permit a first-degree murder charge to be elevated to aggravated murder in the first degree - something that carries with it a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
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