NATIONAL (WCIA) — U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) reintroduced bicameral legislation on Tuesday to address a growing domestic terrorism threat.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2020 would enhance the federal government’s efforts to establish offices dedicated to combating the threat; require federal law enforcement agencies to regularly access the threat; and provide training and resources to assist state, local and tribal law enforcement to address it.
According to a May 2017 intelligence bulletin by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), white supremacist extremism poses a persistent threat of lethal violence, and white supremacists were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016—more than any other domestic extremist movement.
Last fall, DHS released its Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence, which noted “White supremacist violent extremism, one type of racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremism, is one of the most potent forces driving domestic terrorism.”
“Religious minorities and communities of color are at grave risk from the growing domestic terrorism threat facing the United States today,” said Durbin. “For too long, we have failed to take action to combat this deadly menace in our own backyard. The Federal government must step up to address this threat and ensure that more Americans are not violently attacked because of who they are or what they believe.”
“Across the country, our communities are facing a rising tide of domestic terror, particularly from violent far-right extremists and white supremacist organizations. It is not enough to condemn hate, we need to equip law enforcement with the tools to identify threats and prevent acts of domestic terrorism,” Schneider said. “I am proud to partner with Senator Durbin on this legislation to improve coordination between federal agencies on monitoring dangerous domestic extremism and stopping violence.”
The bill authorizes Justice Department (DOJ), DHS, and FBI offices be responsible for monitoring, analyzing, investigating, and prosecuting domestic terrorism.
The bill also requires these offices to issue joint biannual reports to the House and Senate Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Intelligence Committees assessing the domestic terrorism threat posed by white supremacists; analyzing domestic terrorism incidents occurring in the previous six months; and provide transparency through a public quantitative analysis of domestic terrorism-related assessments, investigations, incidents, arrests, indictments, prosecutions, convictions, and weapons recoveries.