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Think Mass Shootings Are Terrorism? Careful What You Wish For

Jenkins, Brian Michael; Daddario, Richard C.

Publisher:  Politico Magazine
Date Written:  07/11/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article

In the United States there is no law enforcement or policy reason to apply the entirety of international terrorism law domestically. Doing so would not improve the ability to investigate, prosecute, or punish domestic terrorism, and it would come with unwanted consequences.


Excerpt: Redefining the domestic terrorism statute to encompass mass shootings as a form of terrorism on grounds that they create public terror, leaving aside individual motivation, would guarantee a continuing supply of public anger, especially if the audience is persuaded to substitute the more recent definition of a mass shooting as any armed assault that results in four casualties, including the shooter in place of the FBI’s higher criteria of any shooting that results in four fatalities not including the shooter.This change alone transforms a comparatively rare event into an everyday occurrence.

Adding a material support provision to a new domestic terrorism law could theoretically expose the gun lobby as well as firearms manufacturers and sellers and even opponents of more stringent gun laws to criminal prosecution or civil suit on grounds that their activities support "gun terrorism." The nation needs to have a serious discussion about gun violence. A politically toxic debate about terrorism will not help.

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