Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (R) is raising the stakes for criminals found guilty of murdering law enforcement officers. While such cases are currently judged at the state level, Cotton’s proposed bill, the “Defending Our Defenders Act”, legislation would make the murder of a state or local law enforcement officer a federal crime punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

Congressman Mike Garcia (CA-27) is introducing companion legislation in the House. Bill text may be found here.

“Law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to defending the rule of law and protecting their fellow citizens. An attack on an officer is an attack on our democracy, and those criminals must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This bill will subject those who murder police to a punishment they deserve, life in prison or the death penalty,” said Senator Cotton.

“The Defund the Police movement and soft-on-crime policies from the far-left have severely handicapped police officers’ ability to confront skyrocketing crime rates and have put these brave men and women in more danger than ever. We must do more to take care of our heroic law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. That’s why I’m proud to join Senator Tom Cotton in introducing this important bill. I named this legislation in honor of a hero of the Antelope Valley, Sgt. Steve Owen, who was brutally murdered in 2016 while on duty. It is critical that we pass this legislation to ensure our law enforcement officers have the protection necessary to do their jobs effectively. The men and women who protect us every day deserve to know that we have their back,” said Congressman Garcia.

According to a news release from Sen. Cotton, Organizations endorsing the legislation include the National Association of Police Organizations, Major County Sheriffs of America, California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, Los Angeles Police Protective League, and Heritage Action for America.

Matt O'Hern
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