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New Mexico Explores Measures to Combat Domestic Terrorism

New Mexico's governor wants to make sure the state is one step ahead of a domestic terrorism act similar to the one earlier this month just 50 miles from Las Cruces, the state's second largest city. (PatrickFeller/Flickr)
New Mexico's governor wants to make sure the state is one step ahead of a domestic terrorism act similar to the one earlier this month just 50 miles from Las Cruces, the state's second largest city. (PatrickFeller/Flickr)
August 13, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. — The risk of domestic terrorism will be discussed at a summit in Santa Fe on Wednesday with the goal of preventing a deadly attack in New Mexico similar to the one in El Paso, Texas, on August 3 that left 22 dead.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she will convene legislators of both parties and others to analyze and discuss proactive measures. University of New Mexico professor Emile Nakhleh said three factors are driving domestic terrorism: the number of weapons available to American citizens; pervasive use of social media's dark side; and a more diverse U.S. population that creates fear among some people.

"This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, and I expect, unfortunately, I expect domestic terrorism to increase exponentially as we move on in the next decade,” Nakhleh said.

Nakhleh said he believes the federal government should convene a task force dedicated to the issue. Lujan Grisham signed two gun-related bills this year including expanded background-check requirements for firearms sales and prohibiting convicted domestic abusers from possessing guns.

Earlier in his career, Nakhleh tracked international terrorist organizations, and he said violence or the threat of violence is how they attempt to control others. He said domestic terrorists create fear among the nation's non-white population, which acts as a cancer on democracy and undermines a creative society.

"Diversity has been the backbone of what has made America great. This is the only nation on Earth that has been created and developed by immigrants,“ he said.

Nakhleh believes legislation should be passed to curtail some weapons, excluding guns used for hunting or sporting activities.

"We are talking about deadly weapons that are weapons of war that were invented and created to fight wars, not to use domestically,” Nakhleh said.

Since the El Paso shooting by an apparent white supremacist, the Trump administration has sent mixed signals as to whether new gun laws will be considered.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM