Congress is primed to pass a law that would make lynching a federal crime. But Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is holding it up from a vote in the Senate, the Washington Post reported.
There are already laws in place that would make it a hate crime to target someone because of their color, their religion or their gender. Yet, violent hate crimes at the hands of a mob aren’t always considered hate crimes.
For hate crimes, it has to be proven that the reason for the crime was inspired by race, religion, orientation, gender, etc. Making a lynching a hate crime would mean any group of people trying to kill someone would have that same distinction.
Paul may oppose it, but his move is blocking the law from even coming to a vote where he could vote for or against it.
“We think that lynching is an awful thing that should be roundly condemned, that should be universally condemned,” Paul said at the Capitol.
He tried to claim that the bill could “conflate lesser crimes with lynching,” which he said would be a “disservice to those who were lynched in our history” and result in “a new 10-year penalty for people who have minor bruising.”
“We don’t think that’s appropriate, and someone has to read these bills and make sure they do what they say they’re going to do rather than it be just a big PR effort, and then everybody gets up in arms and wants to beat up anybody who wants to read the bill, and actually make the bill strong,” he said.
Paul said he wants to edit the bill so it would only qualify “serious bodily injury standard” that would only make it a hate crime if it’s a “substantial risk of death and extreme physical pain.”
It’s unclear how many lynchings have not been a “substantial risk of death and extreme physical pain,” but Paul didn’t clarify.