Source: KTUL

Legislation proposed by state Rep. Mike Shelton would increase the penalty for individuals involved in unauthorized militias or similar domestic-terror groups.

“There has been a great deal of attention given to increasing the penalties for those involved in gang activity, and while I agree that gangs are terrorizing many communities, they are not the only such threat in our state,” said Shelton, D-Oklahoma City. “In Oklahoma we have seen the damage done by militia fanatics and the Ku Klux Klan has a long history of violence and domestic terrorism. Involvement in those types of organizations should be treated no differently than participation in an urban gang.”

Shelton plans to submit his legislation through amendments to Senate Bill 2018

Senate Bill 2018, which currently awaits a vote on the House floor, would increase the penalty for aiding or soliciting gang membership from one year in prison to five years in prison, and creates a new crime for gang-related offenses as a condition of membership, with the penalty being five years incarceration.

Shelton’s amendments would extend those penalties to other groups, including, the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and “any independent military organization that is neither recognized nor authorized by the Commander in Chief of the Militia for the State of Oklahoma.”

The FBI (web) recently arrested several members of the Michigan-based Hutaree militia, alleging the group was plotting to kill police officers.

And several members of the Ku Klux Klan have been charged in the November 2008 shooting death of Cynthia Lynch of Tulsa (who had the mental capabilities of a child). It is believed that Klansmen recruited Lynch online and killed her when she told them she wanted to leave the initiation ritual.

“Recent news reports have graphically illustrated the threat posed by domestic terror groups like the Klan,” Shelton said. “Sadly, these groups are very much alive and active in Oklahoma. In fact, officials say Klan recruitment has grown faster in Oklahoma than any other state in the country. It is time they faced greater penalties for their activities.”

Senate Bill 2018 and Shelton’s amendment could receive a floor vote this week.

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