Cuomo proposes new state law to define domestic terrorism

Cuomo proposes new state law to define domestic terrorism
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Thursday proposed a new law defining domestic terrorism as a crime punishable by up to life without parole, as a way to address the growing threat such attacks pose nationwide.

The Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act, which appears to be the first of its kind in the U.S., would apply to anyone who kills others in mass attacks on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation, Cuomo said.

“These are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans and it should be recognized for what it is: domestic terrorism,” Cuomo said.

“This is not just repulsive, it’s not just immoral, it’s not just anti-American. It is illegal and we must confront it by enacting a new law to fit the crime,” he added.

The penalty would be the “same as it is for other terrorism crimes,” up to life without parole, Cuomo said.

Cuomo’s announcement comes after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed 31 people.

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While no states appear to have laws on the books like the one Cuomo is proposing, 34 states and D.C. have their own anti-terrorism laws, according to The Intercept.

The suspect in the El Paso shooting allegedly wrote a manifesto ahead of the attack warning of a “Hispanic invasion.” Federal authorities are considering charging the suspect with hate crimes.

In response to the El Paso shooting, President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE said “our nation must condemn bigotry, hatred and white supremacy.” He also pushed back on accusations that his immigration rhetoric inspired the attack.

Cuomo called domestic terrorism an “American cancer” that is infecting “sick and hate-filled hearts.”

“It spreads in the hidden corners of the internet and in the highest positions in the land,” Cuomo said, without mentioning Trump.

“So if the federal government won’t act, or if the federal government can’t act, New York State will,” Cuomo added.

He went on to say that hate is just part of the issue, with the other being lax gun control laws at the federal level.

“We are facing the lethal combination of hate and guns,” he said.

Cuomo has joined other Democrats in calling on Congress to pass gun reform legislation, such as universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and red flag laws.

New York passed a series of gun reform measures six years ago following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in neighboring Connecticut.