Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently advanced a first-in-the-nation domestic terrorism law to include mass violence motivated by hate.
Under this proposal, mass shootings against a group of people based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation would be punishable by up to life in prison without parole.
This change would effectively treat these acts as terrorist crimes, carrying the same penalty as other terrorist crimes. The Governor also called on the federal government to enact a new federal domestic terrorism law that would finally define acts of homegrown terror committed on United States soil as terrorism. He also called on the federal government to ban the weapons most often used to perpetrate these mass killings military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines - and to enact universal background checks.
"We still treat terrorism as an act committed by foreigners," Governor Cuomo said. "It is, but only in part - it is now a two front war on terrorism. It's fed by hate. Hate from abroad and hate right here at home. White supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-LGBTQ white nationalists. These are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans and it should be recognized for what it is: domestic terrorism. American citizens who are radicalized not by a foreign ideology but rather radicalized by hate for other Americans are still terrorists. Today, our people are three times more likely to suffer a terrorist attack launched by an American than one launched by a foreigner. It is not just repulsive, immoral, and anti-American. It is illegal and we must confront it by enacting a new law to fit the crime."
"We do not tolerate any form of violence or hate in New York State," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This nation-leading legislation will address and prevent mass shootings against groups of people based on their race, gender, religion, and other orientations. Those who seek to divide us and threaten our safety with terrorism and violence must be punished. We are committed to protecting all New Yorkers, and we celebrate our diversity that makes us the Empire State."