By Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, IACP
he IACP recently announced its support for H.R. 1981, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), seeks to significantly enhance the ability of state, local, and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those who engage in child pornography and exploitation crimes.
Specifically, the legislation does the following:
- It prohibits someone from conducting a financial transaction knowing that such transaction will facilitate access to child pornography. The offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
- It requires Internet Service Providers to retain for 18 months Internet Protocol (IP) addresses it assigns to customer accounts. The provision exempts wireless IP address assignment from the retention requirement.
- It authorizes the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to issue administrative subpoenas in investigations of unregistered sex offenders. The USMS is the primary federal agency charged with apprehending criminal fugitives, including those who have absconded from state criminal charges. Under the Adam Walsh Act, the USMS also was put in charge of apprehending sex offenders, including those who molest children and who have failed to register under state or federal registration laws.
- It expands protection of minor victims and witnesses from harassment or intimidation and provides additional protections to children victims and witnesses, including penalties for harassing or intimidating a witness.
- It directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review and amend federal sentencing guidelines and policy statements to ensure that such guidelines provide an additional penalty for sex trafficking of children and other child abuse crimes.
- It increases the maximum penalty from 10 years to 20 years for child pornography offenses involving prepubescent minors or minors under the age of 12.
Of particular interest to the law enforcement community is the retention of network addresses by electronic communication services or remote computing services for 18 months. While the retention of records by communication service providers is vital to secure valuable evidence and produce investigative leads, this legislation will help address the changing face of investigations in the evolving technological world.
The legislation passed the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary in late July and currently has bipartisan support with 25 cosponsors.
IACP Opposes National Conceal Carry Bill
The IACP recently expressed strong opposition to H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. H.R. 822, sponsored by Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), would weaken existing state laws by allowing an individual to carry concealed firearms when visiting another state or the District of Columbia as long as the individual is entitled to carry concealed firearms pursuant to the laws of the individual’s home state.
In a letter to Congress, IACP President Mark A. Marshall, Chief of the Smithfield, Virginia, Police Department, said, “It is the IACP’s belief that H.R. 822 would severely undermine state concealed carry licensing systems by allowing out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms even if those visitors have not met the standards for carrying a concealed weapon in the state they are visiting.”
For example, some states require a person to show that they know how to use a firearm or meet minimum training standards before obtaining a concealed carry license. These states would be forced to allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed weapons even if they do not meet that state’s concealed licensing standards.
It is the IACP’s belief that states and localities should have the right to determine who is eligible to carry firearms in their communities. It is essential that state, local, and tribal governments maintain the ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the needs of their communities—private citizens as well as active and former law enforcement personnel.
The bill currently has an astounding 242 cosponsors and is being considered in the House Committee on the Judiciary.
The 118th Annual IACP Conference will be held in Chicago, Illinois, October 22–26. The membership-wide Legislative Briefing will be held on Saturday, October 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in McCormick Place West W181C. During this briefing, members will be updated on pertinent legislation and resolutions and will have the opportunity to ask questions.
For more information, please contact Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, at WardM@theiacp.org. ■
Please cite as:
Meredith Ward, "IACP Supports Bill to Combat Child Pornography," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 78 (September 2011): 8.