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Senator: Anti-gun Obama commuted sentences of criminals with firearm convictions

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Sam Rolley

GOP senators speak on Republican consumer protections amendment to the financial reform bill in Washington Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R) wants to know how President Barack Obama squares his anti-gun agenda with the White House's recent decision to commute the sentences of dozens of drug dealers who received harsher sentencing because they were carrying guns at the time of their arrests.

President Obama on Wednesday announced that he would commute the sentences of 61 "non-violent" federal prisoners.

"They're Americans who'd been serving time on the kind of outdated sentences that are clogging up our jails and burning through our tax dollars," Obama said.

But Shelby says there's a big problem with the president's plan to release the prisoners later this year: some of them were convicted on one or more gun-related offense.

"The American people expect their leaders to do everything in our power to keep them safe," Shelby said. "Unfortunately, President Obama has used his executive clemency initiative to reduce the sentences of a total of 33 individuals who were convicted of firearm-related offenses to date. At the same time, this President has repeatedly attempted to infringe upon the American people's Second Amendment rights through executive fiat."

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Shelby said he has "no confidence in the Office of the Pardon Attorney to properly screen requests for executive clemency."

He wrote: "By my count, the president has commuted the sentences of over 200 of these 'non-violent' federal inmates, of which 33 were convicted of firearm-related offenses."

the Alabama senator said 12 of the cases were particularly worrisome, including:

"I am deeply concerned with the mixed messages being sent by this Administration's decision to let criminals with firearm-related convictions off easy while attempting to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves," Shelby said. "I believe that this administration's decision completely contradicts efforts helps us to achieve a critical goal: keeping our communities safe."

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