House Passes Bill Mandating Death or Life Imprisonment Without Parole for First Degree Murder of Law Enforcement, First Responders


The Tennessee House passed a bill mandating death or life imprisonment without parole for the first degree murder of law enforcement and first responders. The bill would elevate the intentional targeting and murdering of first responders to an act of terrorism. It passed without opposition, 88 to 0.

Two amendments moved to strengthen the language of the bill. One amendment noted that defendants who receive life sentence can’t be eligible for parole consideration until they’ve served 51 years. The other amendment added to the definitions of terrorism to offer further protections to law enforcement and first responders. Both amendments were adopted.

State Representative Ron Gant (R-Rossville) introduced the bill. During the third and final consideration of the bill, Gant explained that this bill represented a zero-tolerance stance on attacks against law enforcement and first responders.

“We’ve seen an increase in disturbing attacks on first responders and law enforcement who have dedicated their lives to doing difficult, dangerous, and often thankless job[s] to make our communities safer,” stated Gant. “Once signed into law, House Bill 511 will be the nation’s strongest legislation protecting first responders.”

In a statement to The Tennessee Star, Gant expressed confidence that the bill would get positive reception in the Senate.

“Today, we sent a strong message of support to first responders across Tennessee with the unanimous passage of House Bill 511. This legislation ensures that someone who murders a first responder with targeted intent for the job they do will be charged and punished as a terrorist for their crime,” stated Gant. “I’m very optimistic it will have the same bipartisan support in the Senate and once signed into law, it will provide some of the strongest protections for first responders in the nation.”

As reported previously by The Star, this bill was accompanied by another, similar bill sponsored by Gant. The other bill sought to allow life without parole sentencing for those who attempt first degree murder against law enforcement or first responders. That bill passed as well without any objection.

The Senate must now decide whether to advance the bill through committee.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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4 Thoughts to “House Passes Bill Mandating Death or Life Imprisonment Without Parole for First Degree Murder of Law Enforcement, First Responders”

  1. tngal

    Apparently the Tennessee General Assembly doesn’t believe in equal protection for all. Murder is murder. The punishment for murder shouldn’t be greater because of a person’s job.

    This is bad public policy based on emotions and PR.

  2. Arkcayne

    Here, here! Cmin and 83, y’all are absolutely right. Murder is murder. As a retired LEO, I do not agree with special classifications for anyone. You do the job because of your desire for service to others. If you can’t accept that, stay home or get a job at Home Depot. The current cop hatred is about running out the old school neighborhood cops and replacing them with SJW hires..i.e. people who are devoted to their gov’t overlords and union bennies. As demonstrated by the arrests of folks for the Jan. 6th disturbance, political prisoners are going to be the up and coming thing. More so on a federal level than a local one. This reeks as more of an intimidation tactic against the public than a substantive remedy to aggression against LEO’s. If you’re going to kill anyone, the penalty should be the same no matter their station or position in life.

  3. 83ragtop50

    Sounds like a just punishment for anyone committing first degree murder regardless of the victim.

  4. CMinTN

    At a time when our own government is labeling many of us who question their rigged elections domestic terrorists, the last thing we need to be doing is making the security state more powerful and separate from ordinary citizens. Murder is murder, there should be no special carve outs for agents of the government. We are all to be equal under the law. That being said, are we going to see the death penalty or life in prison applied to them when they do the same? Especially when they have the responsibility to enforce our laws? We should not recognise “rules for thee, but not for me.”