O’Ban bill targets criminals wearing body armor

Sen. Steve O’Ban today introduced legislation that would mean longer sentences for criminals who wear body armor while committing a crime. The bill’s title honors fallen Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney, who was fatally wounded in a Jan. 8 shootout involving at least one suspect wearing body armor.

According to media reports, McCartney heroically chased and exchanged fire with two burglary suspects, striking one suspect five times. However, that suspect’s body armor deflected the bullets, allowing the gunfire to continue and McCartney was fatally wounded.

Senate Bill 6574 would add to the sentences handed down to offenders who wear body armor and carry a firearm while committing a crime. A minimum of five years or twice the amount listed below (whichever is greater) would be added to the standard sentence range:

  • five years for a class A felony; or a maximum sentence of at least 20 years, or both
  • three year for a class B felony, or a maximum sentence for ten years, or both and;
  • 18 months for class C felony, or with a maximum sentence of five years, or both.

“This bill is essential for public safety,” said O’Ban, R-University Place. “Criminals wear body armor because they are engaging in violent activity and this bill would discourage that. This will protect our officers and save lives.”