WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) on Tuesday called on Congress to make "domestic terrorism" a federal crime in the wake of a series of mass shootings killing dozens of people in California, Texas and Ohio since late last month.
"Domestic terrorism is a threat to the American people and our democracy," FBIAA President Brian O'Hare said in a statement published on the association's website.
"Acts of violence intended to intimidate civilian populations or to influence or affect government policy should be prosecuted as domestic terrorism regardless of the ideology behind them," he said.
"FBIAA continues to urge Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime. This would ensure that FBI Agents and prosecutors have the best tools to fight domestic terrorism," he added.
Also on Tuesday, the FBI said it has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the July 28 Gilroy shooting in California after discovering that the gunman who killed three people and injured 13 had a "target list" of religious institutions, federal buildings and Democratic and Republican political organizations.
Todd Wickerham, chief of the FBI Cincinnati field office, told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the probe into the mass shooting which killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday had "uncovered evidence that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies" though no evidence had been found suggesting a racial motivation for the shooting.
Federal prosecutors said Sunday that they were treating the mass shooting in El Paso as a domestic terrorism case, as the country continues to deal with the aftermath of the massacre that left 22 dead.
The recent mass shootings have renewed debate over how to combat domestic terrorism in the United States.
The FBIAA represents more than 14,000 active and former FBI agents.