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A bill to raise mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes has been killed in the Virginia Senate

Mallory Noe-Payne
Radio IQ

Democrats are rejecting an effort to increase new mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes.
During a debate about a bill that would double mandatory minimum sentences for people who use a gun while committing a crime, Republican Senator Emily Jordan of the Isle of Wight asked members of the Senate Committee for the Courts of Justice to hold criminals accountable.

"I really hope the committee takes a serious look at this and not just listen to statistics because there's no way to put a statistic to prevention," Jordan said.

Democrats disagree.

"I do think statistics matter," said Senator Jennifer Carroll Foy, a Democrat from Prince William County.

"We have continuously subscribed to [these] tough-on-crime talking points and policies that’s been completely ineffective. And, where we are now is why do we want to impose more mandatory minimums when the studies and evidence show that it’s not as impactful as people like to believe?"

Democrats say mandatory minimum sentences are disproportionately used against people of color, and they rejected the bill on a party line vote.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.