Dems want domestic terrorism probe
© Getty
Democrats want the Senate to investigate domestic terrorism in the wake of a South Carolina shooting that left nine dead. 
 
Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Former US attorney considering Senate run in Vermont as Republican The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sen. Kaine, drivers stranded in I-95 backup MORE (Vt.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee; Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin, Collins leading talks on overhauling election law, protecting election officials Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down Schumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates MORE (Ill.); Richard Blumenthal (Conn.); Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs Lawmakers in both parties to launch new push on Violence Against Women Act MORE (Calif.); Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSchumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Democrats' filibuster gambit unravels MORE (Del.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the Democrats' last best hope of preserving a House majority Franken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour MORE (Minn.) said in a letter sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Voting rights and Senate wrongs Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down MORE (R-Iowa) that lawmakers "must address the reality of domestic terrorism spurred by racial hatred head on."
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"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."