NASHVILLE, Tenn — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed the JaJuan Latham Act into law in late May.

Representative Rick Staples said he’s ecstatic that the Governor has signed a bill to toughen the penalty for those charged with hurting or killing children during a drive-by shooting.

The JaJuan Latham Act increases the penalty for an aggravated assault or homicide that occurs by a person shooting a firearm from within a motor vehicle and the victim is a minor at the time of the offense. 

The bill is named in honor of 12-year-old JaJuan Latham. The sixth-grader was gunned down in what police called a gang-related drive-by attack on a crowd of people at a birthday party in 2016. 

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“JaJuan’s grandmother helped raise me growing up in Knoxville and I hope this can begin to give the family some semblance of peace,” Staples said. 

The JaJuan Latham act takes effect on July 1.