Combating Domestic Terrorism Is Goal Of Bipartisan Legislation

Chris Fox
August 19, 2019 - 8:41 pm
AP El Paso Shooting

(AP Photo/John Locher)

AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Three Texas Congressmen, Henry Cuellar of San Antonio, Randy Weber of League City and Michael McCaul of Austin, introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors to better identify and charge those committing acts of domestic terrorism in the United States. H.R. 4178, the Domestic Terrorism Penalties Act of 2019, would replicate the penal code structure used to prosecute “International Terrorism” to establish penalties for crimes committed specifically under the definition of “Domestic Terrorism.” In turn, this bill will provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to charge acts of domestic terror and ensure these crimes are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“One of my principal responsibilities as a Congressman and Vice-Chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee is to keep Americans safe. However, the shootings in El Paso and Dayton demonstrate that we need to do more to stop terrorists in our own backyard. Designating domestic terrorism as a federal crime will give law enforcement officials the necessary resources to effectively investigate suspects and fully prosecute criminals,” said Congressman Cuellar.

“The attacks earlier this month in Dayton and El Paso are a stark and hideous reminder that the threat of domestic terrorism is very real. As a former prosecutor, I know our federal domestic terrorism laws are insufficient and lack any real legal recourse to charge domestic terrorists with the crime they’ve committed. The bill we introduced today would change that. It provides the FBI and DOJ with tools to better identify domestic terrorism before it occurs and fully prosecute those responsible. We need to do more than denounce the hateful ideologies that spur this type of violence – we have to take action to better prevent the spread of homegrown radicalization,” said Congressman McCaul.

The Domestic Terrorism Penalties Act of 2019 is endorsed by the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA). The FBIAA is composed of 14,000 Special Agent members—including approximately 90 percent active Special Agents that have helped lead this effort to criminalize domestic terrorism at the federal level.