Since the incident at the US Capitol Building on January 6th, calls for new domestic terror laws are growing. President Biden and plenty of other US politicians have made it clear that they view the demonstrators who entered the Capitol as “domestic terrorists.”
In Congress, there is bipartisan support to increase penalties for domestic terror convictions that put them on the same level as laws targeting international groups, like ISIS and al-Qaeda.
On Thursday, a bipartisan majority of the House Homeland Security Committee endorsed the idea of domestic terror laws. US lawmakers heard from so-called experts who claimed there was a “high likelihood” that another “domestic terrorist attack” would occur soon.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers calling for new domestic terror laws. “I think it sends a strong message about where Congress is, that we’re going to treat domestic terrorism on an equal plane as international terrorism,” he said.
Elizabeth Neumann, a former assistant secretary for counterterrorism and threat prevention at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, suggested that the threat would linger for “10 to 20 years.”
Domestic terror legislation has been introduced in Congress that would establish domestic terror offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI. But with talks of increasing penalties for domestic terror convictions in Congress, more legislation could be introduced that would have grave implications for free speech and the First Amendment.
President Biden has previously bragged that the Patriot Act was based on a domestic terror bill he authored after the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” Biden said in 2001, referring to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. A bill that is similar to the Patriot Act that targets domestic terror groups could be in the works.
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