U.S. Rep. Randy Weber and two other Texas congressmen have co-authored a bill that would define, for the first time, what domestic terrorism means in the United States.

Weber, a Republican from Friendswood; U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Dallas, and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, co-authored the bill, called the Domestic Terrorism Penalties Act of 2019, and introduced it in the House of Representatives last week.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(5) comments

Wayne Holt

Regarding proposed domestic terrorism federal legislation: The bill would make domestic terrorism a distinct federal crime. It would be defined as a crime committed with the “intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence, affect, or retaliate against the policy or conduct of a government.”

The congressmen and senator need to explain exactly how the federal government is going to prove intent under a law like this. How will it distinguish between an intent to criminally influence a policy and simple First Amendment rights to expression and redress of grievances? Civil disobedience is a time-honored American tradition but it is also a crime. Will a group using this tactic be vulnerable to classification as domestic terrorists?

I fail to see how state laws that comprehensively cover all known acts of violence, mayhem and public endangerment fall short here and now require the feds to step in and add yet another poorly written statute that can be used to oppress Americans' legitimate right to call out injustice wherever we find it.

Bailey Jones

"I fail to see how state laws that comprehensively cover all known acts of violence, mayhem and public endangerment fall short here..." IMHO, this new law falls in the category of "OMG WE HAVE TO DOOOOO SOMETHING!!!!" And this allows congress to look like it's doing something, while failing to address real issues like gun control (the prez's recent flip flop on common sense background checks, for instance), real progress on mental illness, and mostly - the influence of white nationalism and other ridiculous conspiracy theories (both right and left wing) on our most dubious and dangerous citizens - young men. This law wouldn't cover someone like the Dayton killer - who apparently has been off the reservation since high school, or the Las Vegas shooting - who AFAIK has yet to reveal a motive, or the Sante Fe loser, but it does cover the El Paso killer, Charlottesville, the KKK, various church, temple and synagogue shooters/bombers/arsonists, abortion shop bombers (remember those?), the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, etc.

But I agree - it's all in the details. I'd hate to see a good old fashioned anti-police brutality riot become an act of terrorism. And it raises the question - would the killing of an innocent by the police (or any of our many armed branches of government) be classified as terrorism?

Carlos Ponce

That's SANTA FE, Bailey, not "Sante Fe" (SIC).

Bailey Jones

oops

Wayne Holt

This is how we wound up restricted to carrying three ounces of shampoo when traveling by air. To fight terrorism. No, seriously.

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