Human rights groups call for action to tackle domestic terrorism

We call for immediate federal and state action to enact national terrorism control acts to address the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States, killing and injuring so many innocent people.

The recent massacre of 10 and three wounded Americans in Buffalo, New York is just one in a long list of horrific hate crimes plaguing our country.

A report by Gun Violence Archive (GVA), an independent research group, with data collection from 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and business sources, should inspire all Americans to demand swift action.

GVA reports show that between 2014 and 2021 there were 3,389 mass shootings in America defined as shootings with four or more shot or killed not including the shooter. In addition to the highly publicized Buffalo shooting; the Parkland School shooting; the Pulse nightclub, the Orlando filming; the Atlanta shooting; the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting; the Black Church in Charleston, South Carolina; the shooting at the El Paso Walmart in Texas; at the Pittsburgh Synagogue; and the Columbine, Colorado shooting; there have been thousands of other mass shootings in recent years in America, resulting in death and serious injury.

The recent alarmingly escalating mass shootings from April 1 to May 15 this year left 93 dead and 407 injured according to GVA reports.

We applaud the federal government’s past actions in enacting laws from 1968 to 2022 to protect individuals and groups from violence based on race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, identity, disability, Americans/Pacific Islanders and the Emmett Till Federal Anti-Lynching Act of 2022.

On June 21, 2021, the National Security Council released the National Security Counterterrorism Plan to draw attention to threats from violent extremists, white nationalism, white supremacists, and anti-government activists.

We also recognize and support states that have enacted national counterterrorism laws, such as Idaho (1987).

In Washington State, progress is being made with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Hate Crimes Advisory Task Force. Vanessa Waldref, United States Attorney for Eastern Washington, created an outreach program to address and report hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents.

However, there are glaring gaps in the fight against domestic terrorism in federal and state legislation.

We urge passage of the proposed United States Prevention of Homeland Terrorism Act of 2021 that would provide and expand the government’s efforts to prevent, report, respond to, and investigate acts of homeland terrorism by authorizing dedicated offices to combat against this threat; require these offices to regularly assess this threat; and provide training and resources, including funding, to help state, local, and tribal law enforcement respond to threats. The law would task the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of Justice and the FBI with implementing the law.

We also urge states to enact national counter-terrorism laws.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest threats to public safety and national security comes from within our country. It is inconceivable that we continue to do nothing to save lives and protect our communities from these terrorists.

This is truly an urgent national security issue. We respond quickly to international terrorist threats and we should do the same to domestic terrorism threats.

Kootenai County Human Relations Task Force

Bonner County Human Rights Task Force

Spokane County Human Rights Task Force

Boundary County Human Rights Task Force

Lance Kissler, Chairman of the Spokane Human Rights Commission

More information

Data from the GVA number of mass shootings per year with at least four people shot or killed not including the shooter:

year number

2014 269

2015 335

2016 382

2017 346

2018 336

2019 417

2020 611

2021 693

TOTAL number of shootings: 3,389

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