NY Governor Cuomo Introduces Domestic Terrorism Law to Include Mass Violence Motivated By Hate
"We still treat terrorism as an act committed by foreigners," Governor Cuomo said. "It is, but only in part - it is now a two front war on terrorism. It's fed by hate: hate from abroad and hate right here at home. White supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-LGBTQ white nationalists - these are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans and it should be recognized for what it is: domestic terrorism. American citizens who are radicalized not by a foreign ideology but rather radicalized by hate for other Americans are still terrorists. Today, our people are three times more likely to suffer a terrorist attack launched by an American than one launched by a foreigner. It is not just repulsive, immoral, and anti-American - it is illegal and we must confront it by enacting a new law to fit the crime."
Under the proposal, the intent standard mirrors the standard in New York's existing hate crimes law and creates a new domestic terrorism hate crime punishable by up to life in prison without parole.
The new statute proposed by the Governor would define mass casualty as any incident that results in the murder of at least one person and the attempted murder of at least two additional people and when that violence is motivated by hate. This definition of mass casualty would parallel the FBI's definition of a mass killing - which is defined as three or more deaths.
Finally, the bill would also create a domestic terrorism task force to study mass shootings, recommend practices to prevent potential mass shootings and shooting incidents and recommend security practices in locations likely to be targeted by mass shooters. This task force would be required to provide its finding to the Governor and the Legislature.The Governor also called on the federal government to enact a new federal domestic terrorism law that would finally define acts of homegrown terror committed on United States soil as terrorism. He called on the federal government to pass legislation mirroring New York State's nation-leading gun safety laws, including banning the weapons most often used to perpetrate mass killings-military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines - and requiring universal background checks.