Pass Domestic Terror Bill

May 16, 2019 GMT

Terrorism quite properly is a primary focus of national security and law enforcement agencies and there are multiple specific laws available to try to prevent it and, when that fails, under which to prosecute the terrorists.

Almost all of that focus is on international terrorism. There are no such protocols to fight domestic terrorism, which clearly is ascendant.

According to the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland, there were 15 domestic terrorism attacks in 2015, 25 in 2016 and 13 in 2017 — primarily by right-wing extremists and primarily against religious institutions and their leaders. The data do not yet include attacks against Jewish worshippers at synagogues in Pennsylvania in 2018 and California this year. From 2003 through 2014, according to the database, an average of three domestic terrorism attacks occurred each year.


To deal cohesively with domestic terrorism and better understand it, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois has introduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act. It would require law enforcement agencies to gather, analyze and share information on domestic terrorism, including the infiltration of uniformed services by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

The bill also would require federal agencies to issue a joint annual report on domestic terrorism and form a task force to fight it.

Senators should take the bill a step further by creating a specific crime of domestic terrorism.

Terrorism is a scourge whether it is conceived abroad or at home. Congress should commit to fighting both.