After the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton were deemed domestic terrorist attacks, Arizona Senator Martha McSally (R) has penned a bill that will make domestic terrorism a federal crime.
In a press release, Sen. McSally’s bill, which will be introduced when Congress convenes in September, will “provide federal law enforcement with new charging options” and “punishments” for individuals accused of committing acts of domestic terrorism.
According to McSally’s office, domestic terrorism “is not” a federal crime that has “specific punishments.”
“Because of this gap, federal law enforcement agencies frequently open domestic terrorism investigations but end up charging domestic terror suspects with other offenses. The absence of a federal domestic terrorism crime makes it more difficult to track acts of domestic terror and reduces uniformity in charging and sentencing. On the state level, Arizona is leading the nation by example as it currently has a terrorism statute in state law,” stated the press release.
McSally’s bill will do the following:
- Gives federal law enforcement authorities more by allowing them to charge suspects with acts of domestic terror.
- Criminalizes violent and destructive acts with political motives.
- Focuses resources to combat domestic terrorism.
- Ensures that the victims of terrorism are properly recognized.
“As someone who fought terrorism overseas, I understand the importance of calling out terrorism wherever it is. Domestic terrorism is in our backyard and we need to call it and treat it under the law the same as other forms of terrorism,” said McSally. “For too long we have allowed those who commit heinous acts of domestic terrorism to be charged with related crimes that don’t portray the full scope of their hateful actions. That stops with my bill. The bill I am introducing will give federal law enforcement the tools they have asked for so that they can punish criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”
McSally’s bill should receive significan bipartisan support, as both Republicans and Democrats have signaled they would support tough legislation to prosecute domestic terrorists.