Apr 01 2016
WASHINGTON — Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on Thursday blasted President Barack Obama for commuting the sentences of criminals convicted on gun charges, while simultaneously working to impose increased firearms restrictions on law-abiding citizens.
As part of his effort to reform jail sentences for “non-violent” offenders, President Obama on Wednesday commuted the sentences of 61 prisoners, a third of whom were serving life terms.
“They’re Americans who’d been serving time on the kind of outdated sentences that are clogging up our jails and burning through our tax dollars,” Obama explained.
The President also contended that “most of them are low-level drug offenders whose sentences would have been shorter if they were convicted under today’s laws.”
But when Senator Shelby’s office researched the list of criminals Obama has released thus far, they found a surprising statistic: 33 of them were convicted on at least one gun related offense, including two from Alabama who will be let back out on the street in July.
Shelby said it does not make sense for the President to release such criminals while constantly pushing for increased gun restrictions on the rest of the country.
“The American people expect their leaders to do everything in our power to keep them safe,” he said. “Unfortunately, President Obama has used his executive clemency initiative to reduce the sentences of a total of 33 individuals who were convicted of firearm-related offenses to date. At the same time, this President has repeatedly attempted to infringe upon the American people’s Second Amendment rights through executive fiat.”
Shelby also sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch criticizing the Justice Department for failing to “properly screen requests for executive clemency.”
“I am deeply concerned with the mixed messages being sent by this Administration’s decision to let criminals with firearm-related convictions off easy while attempting to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves,” Shelby concluded. “I believe that this Administration’s decision completely contradicts efforts to achieve a critical goal: keeping our communities safe.”
Shelby’s full letter to Attorney General Lynch can be found here.