Attack highlights challenge of pursuing domestic extremists
By ERIC TUCKER
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal authorities investigating the El Paso shooting call it an act of domestic terrorism, but they cannot apply the same terrorism law that has been used for years against the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
The laws against foreign-based groups cannot be used to prosecute people targeting blacks, Jews, Hispanics or other minorities because the U.S. does not have a specific domestic terrorism law. The government does not regard any U.S.-based group, including the KKK, as a terrorist organization.
The federal government defines domestic terrorism roughly as politically motivated violence designed to coerce or intimidate a civilian population. The assault on a shopping area seemed to qualify after the emergence of a rambling screed posted to an online message board about 20 minutes before the shooting.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.