Nebraska State Senator Carol Blood announced that she plans to introduce state-specific domestic terrorism bill in the next legislative session.
"The alleged El Paso shooter apparently acted out his belief of a violent white supremacist ideology. That’s domestic terrorism and although his hate speech is protected under the US Constitution, I believe we can create policy in a way that protects one’s civil rights, while still giving state authorities the tools they currently lack to help prevent this type of ideologically motivated violence," said Sen. Blood in a statement.
The Patriot Act defines "domestic terrorism", but does not include an actual criminal charge of domestic terrorism. There are also federal and state "hate crime" laws.
"The United States has provided federal statutes that allow for intervention and gives investigators the tools they need to identify criminal behavior earlier in the timeline with the intent of intercepting the subjects before their plan is brought to fruition. No such laws currently exist for domestic terrorism in Nebraska," said a statement from Blood's office.
Blood said she believes the policy she wants to introduce "will help Nebraska law enforcement respond before lives are lost".
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"In Nebraska there are at least 12 known statewide hate groups," she said. "These groups include but are not limited to Neo-Nazi, Christian Identity, Anti-Muslim, Racist Skinheads and Black Nationalists. It seems like there is a lot of hate circulating around our state and according to our research this is specifically true in communities such as Lincoln, Fairbury and Scottsbluff."
The Bellevue senator said her legislation includes definitions that pertain to "domestic terrorism" and "protecting people, infrastructure and resources". She said it also includes clear definitions and explanation of potential punishment(s).