Dems want domestic terrorism probe
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Democrats want the Senate to investigate domestic terrorism in the wake of a South Carolina shooting that left nine dead. 
 
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"We urge you to hold hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the threat posed by domestic terrorism and homegrown hate groups," the senators said in the Tuesday letter. "In the past, mass violence in our country has been explained away as an act of insanity to be treated as a mental health issue. What we saw in South Carolina is about hate, and it is about evil."
 
The letter comes after a gunman opened fire earlier this month on congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine.
 
The six senators, who are members of the Judiciary Committee, suggested that the hearings could focus on domestic terrorism and "homegrown hate groups," including how the groups recruit and spread their ideology, as well as how they plan out their attacks and choose potential targets.
 
The committee previously held a hearing on hate crimes after a 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. 
 
The Department of Justice announced earlier this month that federal officials would investigate the Charleston shooting as a hate crime, but the senators said it must also be looked at as an act of domestic terrorism. 
 
"We often think of terrorism as the sacrifice of innocent lives in service to a murderous ideology, and [suspect Dylann] Roof’s actions were clearly driven by bizarre and perverse beliefs," they said. "If this same act had been perpetrated by someone claiming a desire to harm Americans in the service of Islamist principles, it would immediately be labeled an act of terror."