With the legislative session starting this month, some legislators hope to go easy on drive-by murders. House Bill 1692, which has been prefiled, would lessen the criminal penalties for drive-by shooters. The bill eliminates drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating murder in the first degree to aggravated murder in the first degree.

Murders in Washington increased 46.6% in 2020 compared to 2019, and in 2020 there were 8,809 incidents involving gun violence. (Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs)

With the upswing of gun violence stretching across our state, the current law needs to remain in place to address this and stop the human destruction it creates.

Some legislators have their own political agendas when writing these bills, and they are not truly in the best interest of the citizens. Drive-by shooters need to be held fully accountable for their actions. Drive-by shootings occur across this state and happen too often in our own valley. This bill goes easy on violent offenders who deserve stiffer penalties. It is also retroactive, lessening punishment for those already guilty of a drive-by shooting.

Government's first responsibility is to protect all of us (that's why we pay taxes), not to make us vulnerable and victims. This bill will make our streets less safe and make us less safe in our homes. Let law enforcement and prosecutors do their job within the framework of the constitution and current state statutes. All neighborhoods need and deserve to be safe. Let's stop protecting the drive-by murderers and start protecting the citizens.

Drive-by shootings leave a trail of injuries and death and traumatize neighborhoods. We need to provide a disincentive for criminals who engage in this activity. Use your power to vote these legislators out of office before you or a family member become the next innocent victim of a drive-by murderer's stray bullet.

Jerry Dodd

Mount Vernon

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