The USA Patriot Act from 2001 grants the federal government authority to deploy an enumerated number of resources to combat international terrorism. These resources range from conducting surveillance to executing undercover sting operations. Unfortunately, those same resources are countered by domestic terrorists’ First Amendment rights. The First Amendment protects domestic terrorists’ freedom of speech even when they are blatantly espousing hateful ideologies — giving them more leeway than international terrorists.
With recent actions like the January 6th Capitol riot, there is a growing amount of pressure to prosecute groups like the protestors in Washington on domestic terrorism charges. With intensifying pressure and demand for change, there is hope that we will soon be able to deploy the same resources both internationally and domestically to combat terrorism. We see this hope in things such as the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act (DTPA) of 2021 which would “strengthen the federal government’s efforts to prevent, report on, respond to, and investigate acts of domestic terrorism by authorizing offices dedicated to combating this threat [domestic terrorism].” Until acts like this get passed, we still have a long way to go.
According to the Gun Violence Archive in this year alone, we have already had 103 mass shootings. It is only March.
All of these shootings have been conducted domestically.
Kayla Anderson of Rosedale