A legislative effort to broaden the definition of gangs and criminal gang activity appears to have failed for the second straight year.

After passing the Senate, the two House committees to which the bill was was referred declined to consider Senate Bill 2868, which would impose harsh penalties for adults who get kids involved in gangs.

The legislation sought to define gangs as three or more people with identifying colors, clothing and hand signs that engage in “criminal gang activity.”

Backers of the bill said it was a remedy for the state’s gang problem; opponents raised civil-liberties concerns and said it could lead to racial profile.

A companion House bill died earlier in the session amid intense debate.

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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.