Attorney General Marshall imploring legislators to strengthen laws to fight gang activity in Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State Attorney General Steve Marshall is asking legislators to take a stand against gang activity in Alabama.
In a new opinion essay released this week Marshall says gang violence and lawlessness is quickly becoming more normal.
He is asking state lawmakers to consider and pass the Alabama Criminal Gang Prevention Act. It was drafted by his office and he says it will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to take back their streets.
“We believe this will not only be a tool in the tool box for law enforcement and prosecutors but also a very specific deterrent to gang activity as well. If you are that gang member and know you are about to engage in this activity, there will be a clear understanding that number one, your penalties will be harsher and if you do it with a gun you are going to have very specific time that you will have to serve.”
The act would also require anyone at least 16 years old and charged with criminal gang-related activity to be charged as an adult. Marshall says the move is meant to discourage gangs from recruiting children. Something Marshall calls a serious and growing problem.
“I think all we have to do is look at our homicide statistics, particularly in Birmingham when you see the loss of lives we had over the last year. Many of those are directly attributable to gang activity.”
When asked about the possibility of the act passing, he stressed he believes it could pass this legislative session.
“I think we feel very strongly about being able to get this done quickly in the legislative session. We have had very good response from legislators about these proposals and the reality is we need these tools to be in the hands of prosecutors and law enforcement as quickly as possible.”
I reached out to both the Mayor’s office and BPD to see if they would comment on the proposed legislation or the topic of gangs in the community but both declined to comment at this time.
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