Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina lawmakers have proposed H. 3035, a bill that would criminalize acts of terrorism, and create offenses for material or financial support of an act of terrorism, concealment of the actions or plans of another to carry out an act of terrorism, and the seizure and forfeiture of real and personal property used in connection with such an offense. However, opponents of the bill have expressed concerns about the vagueness of its language and how it could be interpreted and enforced, raising worries about potential implications on civil liberties.
The proposed legislation adds "Article 5 Terrorism" to Chapter 8, Title 16 of the South Carolina Code, defining the term "act of violence" to include violent crimes and felonies that involve the use of violence or force against another person. It criminalizes the offense of furthering terrorism if a person takes actions toward the commission of an act of violence with the intent to commit an act of terrorism. The proposed legislation also criminalizes the act of material or financial support of an act of terrorism or concealment of the actions or plans of another to carry out an act of terrorism. These offenses carry a penalty of imprisonment for not more than thirty years and twenty years, respectively.
The bill also enables the seizure and forfeiture of real and personal property used in connection with an offense contained in the article.
Critics of the proposed bill have expressed concerns over the vagueness of its language, particularly in how "acts dangerous to human life" that are a "violation of the criminal laws of this state" could be interpreted. They worry that the bill may be used to punish non-violent and non-threatening activities that are politically motivated, and this may affect the exercise of free speech rights. Opponents of the bill also expressed concern about its potential implications on civil liberties.
In conclusion, while the proposed H. 3035 bill aims to combat acts of terrorism and their accomplices in South Carolina, its vague language raises concerns about potential implications on civil liberties. Critics of the proposed legislation argue that it should be further scrutinized to ensure that it does not infringe on the constitutional rights of citizens while seeking to safeguard national security.