Closing the Gap: Eliminating the Distinction Between Domestic and International Terrorism Under Federal Law
Volume 93, No. 1, Fall 2020
By Courtney Kurz [PDF]

This Comment aims to discuss the varying legal treatment of domestic and international terrorism and ultimately argues that this distinction is unhelpful and prohibits adequate detection, investigation, and prevention of domestic terrorism in the United States. Section II provides essential background on the federal criminal and civil laws involving both domestic and international terrorism, details why domestic terrorism is particularly difficult to investigate and prosecute, and examines the current legal debates surrounding the status of domestic terrorism in the federal criminal code. Section III of this Comment argues that the material support statutes, Sections 2339A and 2339B of the United States Code, in particular should be amended to eliminate the distinction between international and domestic terrorism. The Comment further discusses the need to expand the definition of material support to account for the evolution of the terrorism threat and the increased use of the internet, and it suggests a solution to close the gap in terrorism laws.