WASHINGTON – Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) joined Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) today in introducing the “Stop Blocking Hospitals Act,” a bill making it a federal crime to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, or other emergency vehicles or personnel from responding to an emergency. Penalties for such obstruction would include imprisonment of one to five years, a fine, or both.
“Over the weekend in Los Angeles we saw someone unprovoked approach two innocent police officers in their vehicle, pull out a gun, and open fire at point-blank range. As an ambulance rushed these sheriff’s deputies to the hospital, violent protestors — exploiting a movement which bills itself as a voice for life – blocked the entrance and yelled, ‘we hope they die.’ That is evil and pure hypocrisy,” said Senator Cramer. “Our bill establishes proper consequences for people trying to kill police officers or any injured person by blocking access to life-saving care.”
“First responders save lives when those lives are at risk. Protestors who block these heroes from the people who need them may think their actions are political, but, in reality, they’re criminal. Ideally, local politicians wouldn’t stand by like knots on a log when protestors stop emergency care from getting to private citizens and community law enforcement. Unfortunately, though, it’s fallen to federal authorities to fill this leadership void through the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act,” said Senator Kennedy.
Less than a week ago, a gunman shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in their patrol vehicle. Those officers were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, where protestors blocked the emergency entrance to the hospital. In June, in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, a violent crowd prevented first responders from reaching two shooting victims. One of those victims died, though police were just a half block away from the scene. While fire department vehicles were only two blocks away from the shooting, emergency personnel only gained access to the site thirty minutes after the shooting.
Joining Senator Cramer as original cosponsors are Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The bill is backed by the National Association of Police Organizations.