BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana communities have seen a number of drive-by shootings and deadly encounters on the interstates. One bill in the state legislature is trying to deter those criminals.
State Sen. Jimmy Harris is bringing SB117 to increase the penalties for drive-by shootings. He also wants to add the interstate as locations that can fall under the law.
“No one should have to live in fear about being shot on a highway or an interstate… Going to and fro on any given occasion,” Harris said.
On Good Friday, four people were shot on the interstate in New Orleans. Baton Rouge and Shreveport have seen drive-by shooting deaths in the last month. The bill by Democrat Sen. Harris would increase the penalties from one to five years in prison to three to 10 years.
“Talking with some of the law enforcement and some of the judges when they looked at the time on that particular crime and the seriousness of that crime, they thought that the 1-5 wasn’t enough,” Harris said.
With the rise in shootings on the interstate, Harris found it was not listed in the current statute definition for a drive-by shooting.
“Dealing with interstate shootings, they were having issues and problems with being able to use that particular drive-by shooting statute,” Harris said.
His bill will add it in so, if passed, the higher penalties will apply to interstate shootings. The bill has not faced any public opposition as of yet. The bill passed the committee unanimously. It now heads to the Senate for full debate.