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Arizona bill expands definition of terrorism, increases minimum prison time

(Arizona Capitol Museum Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona Senate bill would expand the state’s definition of a terror attack and increase the minimum time a person found guilty on terror-related charges would spend in prison.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Senate Bill 1350 would fix a major hole in Arizona law that state an attack can only be defined as terror if a state building is attacked. The bill was drafted by Brnovich and introduced by state Sen. Warren Petersen.

Should SB 1350 be signed into law, other facilities — such as mosques, churches and stadiums — would be added to that list.

“We know that the lone wolf actors and so called home-grown jihadists are targeting public places, not necessarily government buildings,” Brnovich said.

SB 1350 would also create a 10-year minimum sentence for those convicted on terror charges in Arizona.

“Instead of being eligible for probation, it would be a mandatory prison term,” Brnovich said.

According to Brnovich, SB 1350 updates some outdated portions of Arizona’s terror laws he noticed during the prosecution of Mahin Khan, the first terror case handled at the state level in Arizona.

Khan received an eight-year prison sentence last year for plotting to blow up an Arizona DMV office and Jewish community Center.

“It shouldn’t make any difference whether it’s the DMV or a pizza joint,” Brnovich said of the new law. “The people there are all human beings and they all deserve the maximum protection of the law.”

SB 1350 would be the first update to Arizona’s terror laws in 10 years.

“Those that mean us harm are always changing and adopting their tactics and we, as law enforcement, need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to change and adapt to what they are doing,” Brnovich said.

The bill must be approved by state lawmakers before heading to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

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