A lawmaker from Northwest Missouri wants to place a focus on crime during next year’s legislative session.
State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, is sponsoring three measures that aim to curb violent crime across the state.
According to Luetkemeyer, two proposals would close the revolving door of granting probation to violent offenders, while another measure would toughen penalties for those who use guns to commit crimes.
“A lot of my Democratic colleagues would say the way that we control crime in Missouri is we start putting restrictions on guns,” Luetkemeyer told News-Press NOW. “My view is that the best way to control crime is to put restrictions on people who use guns to commit crimes as opposed to law-abiding gun owners.”
Under Senate Bill 601, offenders committing armed criminal action, or a crime with a deadly weapon, would have their sentences be served after to any other offense committed. It also changes that minimum sentence for armed criminal action to five years in prison.
Regarding probation reform, Senate Bill 600 denies the ability for an offender to receive probation for violent crimes including assault with a deadly weapon and second-degree murder. It would also deny probation for certain repeat offenders.
“In Missouri, people are eligible for probation for almost every offense, including second-degree murder,” Luetkemeyer said. “My bill restricts the types of crimes that judges are able to grant probation for.”
The last piece of crime legislation pre-filed by Luetkemeyer this week deals with gang violence. Under Senate Bill 602, Luetkemeyer said prosecutors will have greater flexibility to bring charges against offenders engaged in organized criminal activity.
“One of the things that we know is that a lot of the violent offenses that happen in St. Joe or around the state usually there is some organized criminal element to it,” he said. “What this bill does is it allow prosecutors to prosecute members just because they’re members of a gang, rather than waiting for them to commit an offense.”
Luetkemeyer, the only practicing attorney in the Senate, was recently appointed to a interim Senate committee on public safety.