Law cracks down on drive-by shootings - WNEM TV 5

Law cracks down on drive-by shootings

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A new law Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder just signed will mean stiffer penalties to anyone who fires a gun from a vehicle or into a home.

And some people in Mid-Michigan believe the time for the law is well overdue.

"When they shoot through a home, they're not shooting at a target. Whoever it hit, it hit, you know. And it just so happened that night, it hit my son," Tiffany Owens said.

Owens knows all too well the devastation of a home being riddled by bullets.  On June 7, 2012, her 12-year old son T.J. Steward was spending the night at his grandparents' home when a bullet pierced through the wall, hitting and killing him.

"They can't just go firing and shooting through people's homes, because they don't know who's in there," said Owens.

Steward was not the intended victim.  He was hit by a bullet with no name.  But now, the state has upped the ante for people who spray bullets into a structure, and for those who discharge a weapon from a vehicle. Snyder signed the law that will make it easier to prosecute these types of cases.

"It's long overdue. This law should have been put in place many years ago," Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel said.  "This legislation holds that person accountable. Now all we have to do is show that we have probable cause to believe that they pulled the trigger and had an intention to pull that trigger. Big difference."

The penalty will also be more harsh with a maximum sentence of 10 years if a prosecutor can prove the person pulled the trigger, or life in prison if that bullet kills someone.

"If that law had been put in place, it could have made them think twice about firing through this home that night," said Owens.

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