Second, we should use the tools we have in hand. There are more than 50 federal criminal laws on the books that deal with terrorism as well as others relating to hate crimes, organized crime and violent crimes. FBI policy has historically instructed agents to open a parallel domestic terrorism investigation when a suspect in a hate crimes investigation “has a nexus to any type of white supremacist extremist group,” especially where it is unclear whether the defendant acted alone and to gather more evidence about motive.
We do not need new laws; we need the resources and will to enforce the laws we have.
Third, we should resist the urge to “do something” if that something will cause further harm to communities that already suffer disproportionately from interactions with the criminal justice system.
A recent letter signed by more than 150 civil and human rights organizations urged members of Congress to oppose legislation creating a new domestic terrorism charge or a list of designated domestic terrorist organizations. The letter acknowledged “our nation’s long and disturbing history of targeting Black activists, Muslims, Arabs, and movements for social and racial justice.”