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The Durbin Report: A message from Senator Richard J. Durbin
Fellow Illinoisan,

It was another weekend of bloodshed and loss in America. 

In Chicago, five people were shot dead—including a 16-year-old boy who was killed near “The Bean” in Millennium Park. One of the most popular attractions in our city.  Then in California on Sunday, a gunman walked into a church and opened fire—killing one person and critically wounding four others. That same afternoon, another gunman opened fire on a flea market in Houston—killing two people and injuring three others.

These shootings all took place less than 24 hours after a white supremacist massacred innocent shoppers and employees at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The shooter wore tactical gear and carried an AR-15 assault rifle—a weapon designed to kill people en-masse. He shot 13 people, 11 of whom were Black, in an act of racist violence. Ten of the victims died. My prayers are with each of them and their families. 

Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. And it’s no mystery that influential figures on the right, from Tucker Carlson to the third-ranking House Republican, have been fanning the flames of hate. They have allowed the very same “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that inspired the Buffalo shooter to make its way to the heart of the conservative movement in America. And all the while, senior law enforcement and intelligence officials have continued to warn us that the biggest domestic terrorism threat today stems from white supremacists and violent militia extremists. A coincidence, it is not. 

So, what do we do? How can we convince the Republican Party to finally condemn this hate? And what will it take for Congress to join together to root out white supremacist violence? As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will soon hold a hearing on domestic terrorism and the ideologies, like the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, that inspire these acts of hate.  

We will also examine a piece of legislation that I first introduced in 2017: The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act , which would strengthen federal efforts to prevent and address white supremacist violence and other forms of domestic terrorism. 

This legislation is an opportunity for the members of this Senate to stand united against hate. By passing it, along with common sense gun safety measures, we can finally address the scourge of hate and violence that has claimed far too many American lives. I hope my Republican colleagues will finally open their eyes and join Democrats in this effort. Our country cannot afford another Buffalo—or Pittsburgh, or El Paso, or Charlottesville, or Charleston. Enough is enough. 

Sincerely, 

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

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