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Gang recruiting bill gives law enforcement extra advantage

Gang recruitment among young people in Mississippi is a rising problem. House Representatives drafted a bill to provide law enforcement an extra tool to put an end to it. 

Wednesday in the Senate, House Bill 1367, the Gang Recruiting Bill, passed.

The problem has been a primary threat from Jackson County to DeSoto County. This bill would provide investigators and prosecutors with the ability to reach upper level gang members, get at their tactics, and attack their funding operations, all within the bounds of the law.

Sen. Brice Wiggins said this bill should send a message to gangs that prosecutors and legislators will not tolerate gangs’ abuse of the legal system.

“We currently have a gang bill on the statutes but this amends it to give prosecutors and investigators the extra tool to go after these gangs,” said Wiggins.

The bill was authored by Rep. Andy Gipson but received amendments from the Judiciary B Committee, particularly Chairman Hob Bryan.

“In Judiciary B chaired by Hob Bryan the question was, is there going to be too much over reach by the police,” said Wiggins.

Often times gangs have signs and wear certain colors. These are identifying symbols. What the committee did not want is for someone to be wearing one of them and automatically be arrested and associated with a gang.

The bill heads back to the House for concurrence.


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