Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 110 Part 2.djvu/600

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110 STAT. 1392 PUBLIC LAW 104-155-JULY 3, 1996 Public Law 104-155 104th Congress An Act July 3, 1996 To amend title 18, United States Code, to clarify the Federal jurisdiction over [H.R. 3525] offenses relating to damage to religious property. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of Church Arson the United States of America in Congress assembled. Prevention Act of 1996. SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the "Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996". 18 USC 247 note. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. The Congress finds the following: (1) The incidence of arson or other destruction or vandalism of places of religious worship, and the incidence of violent interference with an individual's lawful exercise or attempted exercise of the right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship pose a serious national problem. (2) The incidence of arson of places of religious worship has recently increased, especially in the context of places of religious worship that serve predominantly African-American congregations. (3) Changes in Federal law are necessary to deal properly with this problem. (4) Although local jurisdictions have attempted to respond to the challenges posed by such acts of destruction or damage to religious property, the problem is sufficiently serious, widespread, and interstate in scope to warrant Federal intervention to assist State and local jurisdictions. (5) Congress has authority, pursuant to the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, to make acts of destruction or damage to religious property a violation of Federal law. (6) Congress has authority, pursuant to section 2 of the 13th amendment to the Constitution, to make actions of private citizens motivated by race, color, or ethnicity that interfere with the ability of citizens to hold or use religious property without fear of attack, violations of Federal criminal law. SEC. 3. PROHIBITION OF VIOLENT INTERFERENCE WITH RELIGIOUS WORSHIP. Section 247 of title 18, United States Code, is amended— (1) in subsection (a), by striking "subsection (c) of this section" and inserting "subsection (d)"; (2) by redesignating subsections (c), (d), and (e), as subsections (d), (e), and (f), respectively; (3) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following: