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Tougher Sentences for Gun Crimes to be Reintroduced

In the wake of a shootout that killed an Indianapolis police officer, an Indianapolis state senator plans to reintroduce a bill increasing and expanding automatic prison time for criminals who use a gun.

State law already calls for an automatic five-year sentence if a gunman seriously injures a victim, on top of the sentence for the crime itself.

Republican Jim Merritt introduced a bill to extend that to burglary, robbery, and sex crimes, whether anyone‘s hurt or not -- and to make the automatic sentence 20 years instead of five.

Legislators passed a compromise version letting judges tack on anywhere from five to 20 years for the same crimes covered by the old law.

Merritt says the more draconian version took a back seat to the final steps in a complete revision of Indiana‘s criminal code.