NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A new law is cracking down on drive-by shooters in Tennessee.
As of July 1, if a person is convicted of aggravated assault by using or displaying a deadly weapon, they will be punished one classification higher than otherwise provided by law if the violation was made by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle (HB 2009).
G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) says he’s supported this type of legislation for years after innocent people died in his district.
“A young man was opening his Christmas presents and there was a random bullet that came through the door, the wall of the house, and killed him. Christmas morning! Opening Christmas presents minding his own business,” Hardaway said.
Capt. Scott Moore with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office says gun violence and drive-by shootings are an increasing problem and the motive varies by case.
“You see road rage all the time, you see drug deals, gang affiliations — things like that — that spark these drive-bys,” Moore said.
But Moore says this new law could help curb some of the violence by landing offenders behind bars longer and slapping them with heftier fines.
“Any time that you commit a violent crime or offense against someone, or group, or organization, or anything like that, and you use or display a deadly weapon, then there need to be stiff penalties,” Moore said.
The bill passed the House and Senate almost unanimously and was signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee.