Make the KKK a Terrorist Group

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The Ku Klux Klan has terrorized nonwhite communities since it was founded on December 24th, 1865, but many of these acts of violence have been or would have been classified only as a “hate crime”. It’s time these acts of violence are defined as acts of terror and legally classify the KKK as a terrorist group under United States law.

There were petitions created for the purpose of classifying the KKK as a terrorist organization in 2015 and 2016 and the response from the U.S. government stated "white supremacy extremists represent a continued threat to the ideals of our nation and the U.S. government has long identified such groups as posing a terrorism threat.” This still fails to formally recognize the KKK as a terrorist group. Why have they still not been formally recognized? 

The issue with former petitions: The United States does not have a law that labels domestically formed groups as terrorist groups, as this might create a loophole that threatens a number of activist groups that have organized protests that have unintentionally turned violent. 

Under section 2656f(d)(3) of title 22, a terrorist group is "any group practicing, or which has significant subgroups which practice, international terrorism”. So what is the legal definition of “international terrorism”?  

The term “international terrorism” is legally defined under 18 U.S. Code § 2331(1)

“(A)involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;

(B)appear to be intended—

(i)to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii)to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii)to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C)occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;”

The KKK hits every point in this definition except section C, but removing section C would (as previously stated) pose a potential threat to other activist groups. 


The law needs to add a section within this definition that states that an international terrorist group can be defined with the above definition or as “a domestic or foreign group that commits and promotes lynchings of members of a protected group” [Protected groups: race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity]