Bill would stiffen penalties for crimes committed in body armor
by Tim Lockette
tlockette@annistonstar.com
Mar 12, 2013 | 3939 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MONTGOMERY — An Anniston legislator has filed a bill that would stiffen penalties on anyone who commits a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest.

State Rep. Randy Wood, R-Saks, said the use of bulletproof vests by suspects is a threat to police.

"We feel like no one but law enforcement and security should be wearing these," Wood said.

Wood filed his bill on Thursday. In 2011, he filed a bill that would have banned sales of body armor to anyone but law enforcement officers or security guards. The bill didn't pass. That bill never made it out of committee.

Wood said he filed both bills at the request of the Fraternal Order of Police. He said police are concerned about suspects at crime scenes who wear body armor.

Under current law, defendants face a mandatory sentence of 10 years for felonies committed with a firearm, with a mandatory minimum of 20 years for more serious gun related offenses, such as murder. Wood's bill would impose the same sentencing requirements for defendants wearing a bulletproof vest while committing a crime.

Asked if the bill would deter the use of body armor in crimes, Wood said he hoped so.

“We’re going to let them know that if they continue to create these problems, they’re going to pay for it,” he said.

The bill is headed for the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which must approve it before it goes to the full House for a vote.

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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