Anti-terrorism bill introduced in State House

Updated: Mar. 2, 2017 at 7:57 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A committee of lawmakers heard insight from police and Homeland Security on making sure South Carolina laws are enough to prevent terrorism before it happens.

"You know, we're seeing more and more through the internet, these terrorist cells that are actually trying to recruit particularly our young people in our community," state Rep. Tommy Pope (R-York) explained.

In the State House on Thursday, an anti-terrorism bill was proposed that would come down on anyone aiding and supporting a terrorist act. It would allow law enforcement to investigate certain actions flagged suspicious of terrorist activity planning and give prosecutors tools against it.

"So, it's giving the opportunity, giving law enforcement the tools to ferret that out and be able to address it," Pope said. "In other words, someone that was helping by stockpiling weapons or providing opportunities. It would make that more subject to law enforcement scrutiny."

About a year ago, a teenager in York County admitted to planning an attack on a military base and wanting to join ISIS. However, he could only be charged with possession of a handgun.

Lawmakers are using that case in their hopes to give local law enforcement the tools they need to charge suspects with terrorism.

Some residents say they believe it depends on the situation or the case on whether terrorism charges should be brought by the state or federal government while others say both should be involved.

"I think that both should be involved because it is protecting the country. And if anybody is posing a threat and making threats and plotting to do anything against any citizen, then there should be state and federal charges brought against them. Absolutely," North Carolina resident Haskell Turner explained.

Currently, it is up to the federal government to prosecute such cases as none of the states have a terrorism law in place.

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