Text: H.R.3525 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 104-155 (07/03/1996)
[104th Congress Public Law 155]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
CHURCH ARSON PREVENTION ACT OF 1996
[[Page 110 STAT. 1392]]
Public Law 104-155
To amend title 18, United States Code, to clarify the Federal
jurisdiction over offenses relating to damage to religious
property. <<NOTE: July 3, 1996 - [H.R. 3525]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in <<NOTE: Church Arson Prevention Act of
1996.>> Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 18 USC 241 note.>> SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Church Arson Prevention Act of
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 18 USC 247 note.>> 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
(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:
[[Page 110 STAT. 1393]]
``(b) The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the
offense is in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.
``(c) Whoever intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any
religious real property because of the race, color, or ethnic
characteristics of any individual associated with that religious
property, or attempts to do so, shall be punished as provided in
(4) in subsection (d), as redesignated--
(A) in paragraph (2)--
(i) by inserting ``to any person, including
any public safety officer performing duties as a
direct or proximate result of conduct prohibited
by this section,'' after ``bodily injury''; and
(ii) by striking ``ten years'' and inserting
(B) by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as
paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively;
(C) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:
``(2) if bodily injury results to any person, including any
public safety officer performing duties as a direct or proximate
result of conduct prohibited by this section, and the violation
is by means of fire or an explosive, a fine under this title or
imprisonment for not more that 40 years, or both;'';
(5) in subsection (f), as redesignated--
(A) by striking ``religious property'' and inserting
``religious real property'' both places it appears; and
(B) by inserting ``, including fixtures or religious
objects contained within a place of religious worship''
before the period; and
(6) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
``(g) No person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any
noncapital offense under this section unless the indictment is found or
the information is instituted not later than 7 years after the date on
which the offense was committed.''.
SEC. 4. LOAN GUARANTEE RECOVERY FUND.
(a) In General.--
(1) <<NOTE: Regulations.>> In general.--Using amounts
described in paragraph (2), the Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development (referred to as the ``Secretary'') shall make
guaranteed loans to financial institutions in connection with
loans made by such institutions to assist organizations
described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of
1986 that have been damaged as a result of acts of arson or
terrorism in accordance with such procedures as the Secretary
shall establish by regulation.
(2) Use of credit subsidy.--Notwithstanding any other
provision of law, for the cost of loan guarantees under this
section, the Secretary may use not more than $5,000,000 of the
amounts made available for fiscal year 1996 for the credit
subsidy provided under the General Insurance Fund and the
Special Risk Insurance Fund.
(b) Treatment of Costs.--The costs of guaranteed loans under this
section, including the cost of modifying loans, shall be as defined in
section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
(c) Limit on Loan Principal.--Funds made available under this
section shall be available to subsidize total loan principal, any part
of which is to be guaranteed, not to exceed $10,000,000.
(d) Terms and Conditions.--The Secretary shall--
[[Page 110 STAT. 1394]]
(1) establish such terms and conditions as the Secretary
considers to be appropriate to provide loan guarantees under
this section, consistent with section 503 of the Credit Reform
(2) include in the terms and conditions a requirement that
the decision to provide a loan guarantee to a financial
institution and the amount of the guarantee does not in any way
depend on the purpose, function, or identity of the organization
to which the financial institution has made, or intends to make,
SEC. 5. COMPENSATION OF VICTIMS; REQUIREMENT OF INCLUSION IN LIST OF
CRIMES ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION.
Section 1403(d)(3) of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C.
10602(d)(3)) is amended by inserting ``crimes, whose victims suffer
death or personal injury, that are described in section 247 of title 18,
United States Code,'' after ``includes''.
SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION FOR ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL TO ASSIST STATE AND LOCAL
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of the
Treasury and the Department of Justice, including the Community
Relations Service, in fiscal years 1996 and 1997 such sums as are
necessary to increase the number of personnel, investigators, and
technical support personnel to investigate, prevent, and respond to
potential violations of sections 247 and 844 of title 18, United States
SEC. 7. REAUTHORIZATION OF HATE CRIMES STATISTICS ACT.
The first section of the Hate Crimes Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. 534
note) is amended--
(1) in subsection (b), by striking ``for the calendar year
1990 and each of the succeeding 4 calendar years'' and inserting
``for each calendar year''; and
(2) in subsection (c), by striking ``1994'' and inserting
[[Page 110 STAT. 1395]]
SEC. 8. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.
(1) commends those individuals and entities that have
responded with funds to assist in the rebuilding of places of
worship that have been victimized by arson; and
(2) encourages the private sector to continue these efforts
so that places of worship that are victimized by arson, and
their affected communities, can continue the rebuilding process
with maximum financial support from private individuals,
businesses, charitable organizations, and other non-profit
Approved July 3, 1996.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 3525 (S. 1890):
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 104-621 (Comm. on the Judiciary).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 142 (1996):
June 18, considered and passed House.
June 26, considered and passed Senate, amended.
June 27, House concurred in Senate amendment.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 32 (1996):
July 3, Presidential statement.