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Legislators Wish to Strengthen the Punishment for Offenders Who Conceal Their Faces!


CNS NewsTwo lawmakers in Tennessee want people who hide their names while committing crimes to get harsher punishments. Democratic Rep. Torrey Harris (D-Memphis) and Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) have introduced a bill that would make it harder to get out of jail if you commit a crime while hiding your face or identity in some other way.

According to the current state law, enhancement factors are things that judges or jurors can think about when they are sentencing someone. These things can make crooks’ prison terms longer. Some things that can make the sentence harsher are if the defendant was in charge of two or more other criminals if the victim of the crime was “particularly vulnerable” because of their age or if a physical or mental disability if the defendant did not follow the rules for their limited release, and more.

At the moment, there are almost 30 different enhancement factors put into law. Another one would be added by Harris’s bill. It would say: “The defendant was hiding his or her identity while committing the crime by wearing a mask or some other device;” Harris told News 2 that the bill was made to make sure that crooks who try to hide their identity by wearing gloves or face coverings know that they will be punished with the full force of the law if they are caught.

“To put it simply, there are a lot of crimes going on across the state, and when someone covers their face, it makes it a lot harder for us to figure out who they are,” he said. People who hide who they are when they commit crimes, Harris said, take away important resources from local police. This is true whether the crime is as simple as robbery or as horrible as murder.

Legislators Wish to Strengthen the Punishment for Offenders Who Conceal Their Faces!

He told News 2 that every person in the state, every town, and every police officer needs to work even harder to use the tools that are available in their state to find out who did this crime. Harris said that he thinks this bill will stop people from breaking the law because crime affects all of Tennessee, both cities and rural areas.

He said, “We just want to make sure that we have one more tool in our toolbox that we can use to hold people accountable.” As Harris puts it, the bill could have even come in handy when a group of Neo-Nazis marched down Broadway in downtown Nashville over the weekend. Anyone on the march who hurt someone or something would have been charged with this law because they were all wearing masks that covered their faces.

Harris made it clear that the law would not apply to certain people who wear masks or other face covers for reasons other than crime. People who have broken the law while wearing a mask or something else to hide their name would be subject to this law.

Harris said that the Memphis police and many other groups in the community are fully behind them. The few bad comments he’s gotten have mostly been about how people are afraid the law will hurt people of color or who are poor more than others.

Legislators Wish to Strengthen the Punishment for Offenders Who Conceal Their Faces!

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“It’s not meant to target anyone,” Harris told people who were worried about the plan. “The purpose is to let people who break the law and believe they will get away with it know that we are cognizant; we are paying attention.”

For one thing, this will stop people from doing it, and those who are caught will have used resources that we could have used to protect other people and keep an eye on other things going on. The law would start on July 1 if it were passed. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee was supposed to talk about it on Tuesday, February 20, but they pushed it back a week, to February 27.

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