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Barr To Propose Fast-Tracking Death Penalty Sentences For Mass Shooters — But Would It Work?

The Trump administration is planning a series of proposals in response to a number of mass shootings that have occurred over the past 30 days. One idea may not be an effective means of stopping such behavior, however, according to scientific research and analysis by criminology experts.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

According to reporting from Reuters, Attorney General William Barr has drafted legislation that would effectively allow for speeding up the process of executing individuals who have been charged and convicted of mass murder. The proposal is set to be part of a broader series of bills the administration will be pushing in the future in order to address the issue of mass shootings.

The idea is simple: those who understand they could face the death penalty, and do so in an expedited manner, will be less likely to commit the crime. There’s just one problem — many of the shooters involved in these incidents are hoping to die, either from a police officer’s bullet or from shooting themselves.

More than half of the perpetrators involved in mass shootings since 2006 have died during their rampages, the Associated Press reported.

Gary LaFree, department head of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, spoke to the AP on the issue, saying that executing mass shooters may indeed have the opposite effect, as it all but ensures those who are arrested alive still wind up being killed — something that individuals with terroristic ideologies might use to their advantages.

“In fact, in the case of terrorism, it might be worse than that because you have the very real possibility of creating martyrs,” LaFree stated.

Many studies on the death penalty, in general, have also shown that it has not worked as a deterrent for major crimes in states where the practice is legal, even for crimes that are not related to mass shootings, the Washington Post reported in 2014.



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