McMurtry Under Fire for 'Scarlet Letter' Bill for Gangs
Rep. Paul McMurtry signaled that he would pull back the legislation that was criticized this week.
State Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) is under fire this week for what critics are calling a "Scarlet Letter" approach to fighting gangs, according to an Associated Press report.
McMurtry put forth a bill that would require the Registry of Motor Vehicles to put a "G" on the driver's license of gang members.
The bill would target people who authorities have deemed gang members through a point system using "self admission; known group tattoo marking; group related photo; or information from a reliable or confidential informant."
Critics slammed the representative for the bill that they said would unfairly target ex-convicts trying to rehabilitate and even people who don't have a criminal record, the AP reported.
"I’m all for focusing government attention on eradicating gangs and gang culture," Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley said in a statement. "But the most effective way to dismantle the hold gangs have over too many neighborhoods is to improve the economic and social conditions that lead young people to seek out gangs."
McMurtry said the bill wasn't meant to violate a person's civil liberties, but more as a tool for law enforcement to know immediately who they are dealing with during a traffic stop, the AP reported.
The bill is currently in front of the Committee on Transportation.