Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Saturday blamed flawed criminal drug legislation as major factor behind urban conflict and related prison overcrowding.
Paul attacked narcotics laws during an address in Las Vegas. The appearance marked the last stop on his #StandWithRand tour following the announcement of his 2016 presidential bid Tuesday.
“The War on Drugs has created a culture of violence and puts police in an impossible situation,” Paul told audience members at the Desert Vista Community Center in Las Vegas.
“It has fostered tension in our inner cities,” he added. “There is an undercurrent of unease in our country.”
Paul argued America’s recent racial conflicts may stem from unfairness inherent in the laws and their enforcement. By making them fairer, he charged, citizens of all backgrounds would receive fair judgement from authorities.
“Criminal justice reform is not a black problem or a white problem,” Paul said.
“Everyone should be treated the same under the laws of this country regardless of what religion they are, what color their skin is or how poor they are,” he concluded.
The Kentucky lawmaker said punishments too harsh for their crimes had combined with uneven law enforcement in minority communities. The resulting mix was a perfect storm of inequality, he declared.
“If you look at statistics, white people are using drugs at the same rate as black people,” Paul said, the noted the incarceration rates among different ethnicities.
“We have snatched up so many people of one race that it is now unfair,” he added. “We should do something to make it fair.”
The White House hopeful criticized big government as the source of failing drug policies. Bureaucracy’s size and scope, Paul said, had crowded out space for individual freedom and liberty.
“We have a government that has run amok,” he stated.
“God only knows how many millions of words they have written to distinguish between the greater prairie chicken and the lesser prairie chicken,” he joked.