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Sen. McSally Out to Make Domestic Terror Punishable

It's not currently a punishable federal crime
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2019 12:40 PM CDT
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., joins her staff after delivering her first major speech on the Senate floor, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 30, 2019. McSally is a former Air Force colonel who...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – "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," says GOP Sen. Martha McSally. And so on Wednesday she revealed she plans to do something about it. The Arizona senator released a discussion draft of a new bill that would make domestic terrorism a distinct federal crime—and CBS News explains why that would be necessary: "Domestic terrorism is defined in the US legal code but it is not codified as a law that can be prosecuted." As such, federal authorities end up charging those suspected of domestic terrorism with other offenses, like hate crimes or weapons possession.

McSally explained the ramifications of that to CBS: It "makes it more difficult to track acts of domestic terror and reduces uniformity in charging and sentencing." The Arizona Republic reports she'll introduce the bill once the Senate's summer recess ends. Politico sees her move as a sign that Republicans are "getting serious" about responding to the recent wave of mass shootings with legislation. It offers context for McSally, too: She's going head to head with Mark Kelly in the state's 2020 special election for John McCain's seat, "a contest in which firearms and fighting crime will loom large." (Read more domestic terrorism stories.)

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