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House Approves Domestic Terrorism Bill in Response to Buffalo Shooting

The House of Representatives narrowly approved legislation on Wednesday to elevate the federal government's efforts to combat the threat of domestic terrorism. The vote was 222-203, NPR reports.

The action came after a gunman wearing body armor killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 would create offices at the departments of Homeland Security and Justice and the FBI focused on investigating and tracking domestic terror threats. It directs these offices to share potential risks and take steps to prevent future attacks. The legislation had bipartisan support when it was introduced earlier this year. A similar measure was approved by voice vote by the House in September of 2020, before the Jan. 6 insurrection. Only one Republican — Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger -- joined all House Democrats to approve the new bill. Without the votes to pass new gun control measures in a narrowly divided Congress, House Democrats said it was worth focusing on something that shouldn't be a partisan issue.

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), the sponsor of the bill, said he pushed for a vote because it was something that garnered support from both parties in the last Congress. "This past weekend, we had the shooting in Buffalo. We had a shooting in California. We had a shooting in my district, a gang shooting where a 14 year old boy was killed," he said. "We need to address what is an epidemic of gun violence in the country. We need to tackle the challenge of domestic extremism. And the only way we do that is finding a bipartisan way to to push the ball forward together." GOP lawmakers who voted for the 2020 bill now argue the Biden administration would overreach if the bill is enacted. Many maintain it would allow the Justice Department to label parents criticizing their school boards as domestic terrorists.


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