‘This is the moment’ to address domestic terrorism in state law

8/25/2017, 7:29 p.m.

The groups and individuals who unabashedly proclaim themselves to be aligned with white supremacy in all of its organizational iterations for the promotion of violence and intimidation are indeed domestic terrorists.

This viewpoint has been espoused by our governor and attorney general, voiced by members of the General Assembly and lauded by elected and public officials throughout the state, as well as elected and appointed federal officials.

Thus, I believe this is the moment to craft a protective mechanism, either through administrative regulation or through General Assembly action, that includes a legal definition of domestic terrorist and domestic terrorism. This would provide the Commonwealth and its localities a legitimate way to, at a minimum, deny such groups and individuals access to use public spaces as a platform to express their views.

Essentially, such a law would deny protection of free speech to the threats of violence and hate speech promoted by those entities and individuals identified and listed as domestic terrorists.

It would reasonably follow that the issue of firearms, deadly weapons, chemicals and incendiary devices must likewise be considered so that it would no longer be legal for any group defined as a domestic terrorist organization to present itself in the public square as ready to inflict harm and injury or usurp the authority of constitutional law enforcement.

The Virginia State Conference NAACP is urging the attorney general to move on this front to prevent more confrontation and violence such as what occurred in Charlottesville. The NAACP stands ready to assist with our support through advocacy and partnerships.

This action would create a model for other states to follow as well as inspire similar federal legislation and regulation. 



The writer is president of the Virginia State Conference NAACP.