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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 13, 2007

Senator Jay Paul Gumm
Senator Jay Paul Gumm

Bill to Protect Grieving Families of War Casualties Advances

A bill that would put a larger protective barrier around grieving families of war casualties received a unanimous vote today in a Senate committee.

Senate Bill 756 would increase the distance protesters at funerals must be from ceremonies and cemeteries; the measure also would triple the time before and after the ceremony when protests would be allowed. The measure was approved without opposition by the Senate Judiciary Committee and next will be considered by the full Senate.

The bill, by Senator Jay Paul Gumm, would strengthen a law already on the books banning protesters at the funerals of those soldiers killed in the line of duty. The original law was enacted as a response to a radical fringe group from Topeka, Kan. that travels the country protesting military funerals.

The group’s protest at the funeral of a fallen soldier in Gumm’s district, and the public outcry over that protest, led Gumm to introduce the bill.

“My constituents were outraged that this group would invade the privacy of this soldier’s family,” the lawmakers said. “It is time for us to ‘push the envelope’ on restrictions on this group, and anyone who would intrude during the hardest time in a family’s life.”

Gumm’s bill would increase the time period from one to three hours before and after a funeral when a protest could occur. The bill also would increase the buffer zone between protesters and funerals from 500 feet to 1,000 feet.

“I am deeply grateful to the Judiciary Committee for their overwhelming support and look forward to consideration by the full Senate,” Gumm concluded. “This bill will send the message to the entire nation that here in Oklahoma we respect our soldiers, their families and their tremendous sacrifice.”

For more information contact:
Senator Gumm's Office - (405) 521-5586

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