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Attorney general urges quick death penalty for mass murder or killing police

Attorney General William Barr looks on during a news conference about U.S. citizenship status for the upcoming 2020 census in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

OLIVIER DOULIERY, ABACA PRESS/TNS

By CHRIS STROHM | Bloomberg News | Published: August 12, 2019

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The Justice Department is seeking legislation to allow quick death sentences for people who carry out mass murder or kill a law enforcement officer, Attorney General William Barr said Monday.

“We will be proposing legislation providing that in cases of mass murder or in cases of murder of a law enforcement officer there will be a strict timetable for judicial proceedings that will allow the imposition of the death sentence without undue delay,” Barr said in a speech at a law enforcement conference in New Orleans.

“Punishment must be swift,” Barr said adding that he plans to offer the legislative proposal next month, when Congress returns from its summer break.

The attorney general offered a conservative’s response to the mass shootings that killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton Ohio, as gun control advocates press for a ban on assault rifles and expanded background checks for gun buyers.

President Donald Trump has said he wants “meaningful background checks” for firearm purchases but that he’ll ensure that the National Rifle Association’s views are “fully represented and respected” in discussions with Congress on legislation.

Barr’s proposal is part of his aggressive agenda toward policing, fighting violent crime, stopping illegal immigration and combating dangerous drugs. He also warned that violence toward police officers won’t be tolerated, including resisting police orders.

“In recent years we have witnessed increasing toleration of the notion that it is somehow OK to resist the police,” Barr said. “This is completely unacceptable.”

“We must — and this department will — have zero tolerance for resisting police,” Barr said. “This will save lives.”

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