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House Passes Hate Crimes Bill

On April 29, the House approved, 249-175, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913). The bill would amend existing hate crime laws (18 U.S.C. Sec. 45 and 28 U.S.C. Sec. 994) to include crimes conducted with a gun, bomb, or other “dangerous weapon” that are motivated by gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Such crimes would be punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years in prison; crimes involving kidnapping, homicide, or sexual abuse could receive a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill on April 23 (see The Source, 4/24/09).

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