In the wake of this month’s terrorist shooting in California, many Ohioans are rightfully concerned about their security. We need to ensure that those on the frontlines protecting us have all the tools they need to respond to threats, and to root out these terrorists at home and abroad.
That’s why this week I introduced legislation to help keep Americans safe from ISIS and other terrorist threats. It would provide grants to state and local law enforcement agencies for antiterrorism programs and training for active shooter incidents.
This would allow law enforcement agencies across the country to develop specialized antiterrorism investigation programs, with workshops and training materials. It would also strengthen community partnerships to combat homegrown extremism or the recruitment or radicalization of those living in the U.S.
This would allow local governments, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education to identify the root causes of violent extremism, and to develop effective strategies to combat them.
And the bill would create a new office within the Department of Homeland Security specifically dedicated to stopping homegrown extremism.
The bill also includes provisions to lock down “dirty bomb” materials, to improve intelligence sharing with our allies and partners, and to develop a comprehensive strategy to counter ISIS propaganda.
As Ranking Member on the Senate Banking Committee, I authored provisions in the bill that would combat ISIS’ financing by authorizing tough new sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate financial transactions with ISIS. These sanctions would likely include completely cutting off from the U.S. financial system — and thus from international financial networks — any foreign bank that deals with ISIS or with those who facilitate transactions for ISIS or its affiliates.
We must also take steps to reform the Visa Waiver program to make it more secure, with universal electronic passports. That will help ensure that dangerous individuals cannot enter this country.
Finally, we have to close the terrorist gun loophole. We must stop individuals who are known or suspected terrorists — including those on the “No Fly” list — from purchasing a gun.
If you are too dangerous to fly, you are too dangerous to purchase assault weapons.
Democrats and Republicans should come together to do everything possible to combat the threat posed by extremists with access to deadly weapons, to keep the American people safe.
Sherrod Brown is a Democratic U.S. senator who represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.