WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (both R-Idaho) joined in introducing legislation to clarify and strengthen violent crime laws related to attacks on law enforcement, bank robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and other offenses. The Combating Violent and Dangerous Crime Act resolves discrepancies brought on by conflicting court decisions and clarifies congressional intent regarding crimes of violence and their respective penalties.
“Protecting Americans and supporting our law enforcement has taken a back seat in Democrat-run cities and states,” Crapo said. “This legislation is imperative to return law and order by providing uniform guidance regarding violent crimes and the penalties they incur.”
“Democrats’ weak-on-crime agenda has resulted in increased crime and violence in America,” said Risch. “To ensure the safety of all Americans nationwide, Senators Grassley, Crapo, and I are introducing the Combating Violent and Dangerous Crime Act. Our common-sense legislation clarifies existing law to ensure that when a severe crime is committed, the punishment appropriately matches it regardless of location.”
Many communities across the country continue to experience steadily increasing violent crime. Murder rates increased 30 percent in 2020 and continued climbing in 2021. Carjackings, particularly in urban areas, are on the rise, with some cities recording up to 400 percent spikes. Overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 last year, with fentanyl appearing in a variety of substances, including candy-flavored drugs marketed to children. 2021 marked the deadliest year for law enforcement since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
The Combating Violent and Dangerous Crime Act addresses ambiguity and conflicting application of existing law by clarifying congressional intent without establishing sweeping new offense categories. Among other provisions, the bill:
- Clarifies that attempted bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery are punishable under the current bank robbery statute;
- Rectifies conflicting circuit court decisions that have resulted in a higher burden to charge offenses like assaulting a police officer than Congress intended;
- Increases the statutory maximum penalty for carjacking and removes a duplicative intent requirement needed to charge a carjacking offense;
- Rectifies conflicting circuit court decisions by clarifying that an attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense involving physical force meets the legal definition of a crime of violence;
- Outlaws the marketing of candy-flavored drugs to minors; and
- Establishes a new category of violent kidnapping offenses, allowing for greater penalties for violent kidnapping.
The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), and John Boozman (R-Arkansas).