GANG DETERRENCE AND COMMUNITY PROTECTION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2005)
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Mr. CHABOT. Madam Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1279, the Gang Deterrence and Community Protection Act of 2005. I want to thank the distinguished gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Forbes) for his hard work on this very critical issue. I also want to thank the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) for his leadership in this area as well.
Gang violence is taking over too many of our communities. What was once thought to be an urban problem has now moved into many suburban and even rural areas, leaving virtually every community and every child in them vulnerable. Sadly, too many children are turning their backs on beneficial extra-curricular activities and turning to the world of guns and drugs and violent activity in order to gain entry into or move up or just maintain status in a gang.
In order to gain entry into these things, this legislation is absolutely critical. And for those who have avoided being seduced by gang life, they are too often held hostage in their homes for fear of being the next victim or the unfortunate one who may witness a gang act and who may later be called upon to testify, and they are often times in fear of their life when that happens.
In my district, the first district of Ohio which includes the City of Cincinnati, the 22 homicides that have occurred as of March put the city on pace to exceed the record number, 75 homicides that occurred back in 2003. Many of our city officials and law enforcement point toward gang activity centered on drug trafficking as the source of this increase.
We cannot allow gangs to control our communities. We must give law enforcement the tools to fight back. H.R. 1279 would help to accomplish this in two ways: It would establish new stronger gang and violent criminal penalties as well as strengthen existing ones to deter the acts of violence commonly associated with these gangs. Most importantly, H.R. 1279 gives our communities the resources to attack the gang problem from all levels.
H.R. 1279 ensures that local State and national law enforcement work together to stop gangs and to make our communities finally safe as they ought to be. Our communities cannot fight gangs alone.
I would strongly urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation to ensure that we have a coordinated effort in all levels of government. I want to again thank the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Forbes) for his leadership in this area.
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