SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on domestic terrorism summit in New Mexico in response to recent mass shootings (all times local):
Leading New Mexico state legislators and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham want to write new definitions and possibly penalties related to domestic terrorism into state law in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
The announcement Wednesday came as lawmakers, public safety Cabinet members and local law enforcement officials gathered for a briefing by the FBI and discussions about how to respond to the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso that killed 22.
Lujan Grisham said changes to state statutes regarding terrorism-related crimes would be aimed at strengthening investigative capabilities. Attorney General Hector Balderas says those legislative proposals could include stronger penalties for hate-related crimes.
Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf says the state may create a domestic terrorism unit to increase preparedness. Democratic Senate majority leader Peter Wirth expressed support for “red-flag” legislation that makes it easier to take guns away from people who pose a danger to themselves or others.
A summit about domestic terrorism threats has convened in New Mexico to consider expert testimony from the FBI, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and local law enforcement.
New Mexico public safety authorities and lawmakers gathered in the governor’s office Wednesday for the one-day summit in response to the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
The discussions involve sensitive security information and were closed to news media.
Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called the summit to improve preparedness for possible attempts at mass violence.
Those participating in the summit include leading Democratic and Republican state legislators, Cabinet secretaries overseeing public safety and emergency management, and the state attorney general.
Authorities say the El Paso shooting suspect confessed to targeting people of Mexican descent. There were 22 people killed in the attack.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says his office is evaluating public safety at big-box stores and other shopping venues in the aftermath of the Aug. 3 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Arriving at the closed-door summit, Balderas said he thinks authorities can do a better job at protecting areas where families congregate, socialize and shop. He says the attorney general’s office is in communication with large-scale retailers in high-crime zip codes about security efforts.
Balderas also is highlighting increased activity within the state among biker gangs and militia-style groups with access to high-intensity firearms. He says his office began a concerted effort five years ago to track hate groups.
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