The Missouri Attorney General announced on Feb. 25 that he'd like to see carjackers face much stiffer penalties, especially if a deadly weapon is used in the commission of their crime.
During his press conference, he noted that there aren't currently any laws on the books in Missouri that specifically address carjacking. He notes that this is why suspects often get charged with stealing or robbery instead.
He highlighted how he'd ideally like to see lawmakers sign off on legislation that would make carjacking at least a Class-B felony. He also pointed out that he'd like to see them upgraded to Class-A ones if the victim is a particular age or if a gun is used in the commission of the crime.
When asked by reporters why he was championing such legislation, the Attorney General pointed out that similar laws in Florida, Georgia and Illinois have been instituted. He notes that St. Louis, which had 200 carjackings in 2018, could use some help in curbing their numbers.
He notes that passing such legislation would send a message to would-be criminals that violence isn't tolerated in the St. Louis or anywhere else in the state for that matter. He points out that a 10-year sentence may force them to second guess their choice to commit such a crime.
As of now, two Republicans, one in the House and another in the Senate, have stepped up to support the bill. He notes that they don't expect to have difficulty securing support from Democrats, as well. They hope that they can get the legislation passed in the Missouri General Assembly by May.
Carjackings have increased with new advances in technology, namely because criminals can't simply break into cars and hotwire them as they used to before vehicles started being equipped with anti-theft technology.
Any crime of theft can carry a harsh sentence if you're convicted. When it's accompanied by aggravated circumstances like the use of a weapon, the sentence can be even worse. A weapons offenses attorney can help defend you against all types of firearms charges including federal ones.