Drug Dealing Penalties May Get Tougher

9 years 11 months 3 days ago April 25, 2007 Apr 25, 2007 Wednesday, April 25 2007 Wednesday, April 25, 2007 8:11:18 PM CDT in News
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The Missouri House of Representatives thinks so.

The House passed a bill this week that would mean big penalties for park drug dealers.

They feel park settings should be safe places for families and children.

Missouri representatives said one way to make them safe is to pass stiff penalties for anyone caught selling drugs at state and local parks. That penalty means life in prison.

This bill will not only make it a Class A felony if someone is caught selling drugs in parks in Missouri, but also within 1,000 feet outside each park as well.

The part of the bill that includes the area outside of the parks is making the bill controversial.

"Everyone is not going to have that same penalty, because the density of their area. The density of my area would cause anyone to be caught to receive up to a life sentence," Representative Leonard Hughes, Kansas City, said.

Supporters of the bill said citizens need to feel safe in and around their parks.

"If you fear to use something you're not going to use it, or go near it," Representative Darrell Pollock said. "And if you don't use it or go near it then you've just turned those neighborhoods over to the element that you're trying to rid it from."

Hughes is looking for the Senate to take away the buffer zone, but there is precedent to keep that sort of boundary.

Missouri law already allows a life sentence for selling drugs within 2,000 feet of schools.

Currently, selling drugs is a Class B felony. Conviction can result in five to 15 years in prison.

Reported by: Joe Murano

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