Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat, on Monday proposed a “red flag” law for trucks, which he described as weapons of “mass destruction.”
Gottheimer said he would introduce the Darren Drake Act this week in Congress. The bill would require “all rental companies” to “report suspicious behavior at every single point of sale,” according to a press release by Gottheimer’s office.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration would have to “provide rental companies and car dealers with the information they need to flag and stop a potential threat in its tracks,” the release said. DHS would also be charged ensuring the program “protects or country against terrorist attacks,” it continued.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican, is named after a New Jersey man who was among eight people killed in a Halloween 2017 truck-ramming attack in lower Manhattan. The driver was apparently inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group, which claimed responsibility.
During an event Monday in New Milford, New Jersey, Gottheimer also referred to other trucks used in terrorist attacks around the world. Gottheimer said there “were flags raised” about the alleged perpetrator of the Manhattan attack, and claimed his bill might have prevented the tragedy.
“They represent a new weapon of mass destruction,” he said of rental trucks. “Terrorists shouldn’t be able to rent terror trucks.”
Josh Gottheimer “terror trucks” are a joke to conservatives
The congressman’s invocation of “red flag” laws when it comes to trucks recalled years of dark conservative humor about gun control. Second Amendment advocates have mocked the idea of regulating trucks to prevent violence as a logical extension of liberal logic about firearms.
Ban trucks! We need truck control, like they have in Canada https://t.co/gDeNsVHqfe
— James Delingpole QC (@JamesDelingpole) July 15, 2016
Following a 2016 rental truck rampage that killed 86 people during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wryly predicted that then-President Barack Obama would respond to the ISIS-claimed attack calling for a crackdown on trucks.
“I fully expect by tomorrow morning that President Obama … will give a press conference in which he will explain the problem is too many trucks,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “If only we had truck regulation then we wouldn’t have problems like Nice. … I mean that … just tells you how nuts the left-wing in America is.”
Gingrich instead proposed deporting all Muslims in the United States who are found to “believe in Sharia law.”
What should we ban and why?
On the other end of the political spectrum, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has recently led Democratic calls for both sweeping gun control and a revival of domestic terrorism laws in response to on a supposed “explosion” of white supremacist terrorism.
However, another counterterrorism regulation proposed by Gottheimer has proved less politically divisive. Earlier this month, he and a bipartisan group of lawmakers demanded that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey remove all content by foreign terrorist groups from the platform.
Some prominent Republicans, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have similarly voiced support for regulating American social media giants. But they have been less concerned with the companies’ role in terrorism than with their alleged anti-conservative bias.
Gingrich, for his part, has acknowledged the problem but disagreed with the remedy.
“My concern is making sure that billionaires don’t use the leverage of the companies they own to censor things on their own. I think that’ll be equally bad,” he told TheStreet in July. “And I think we have to think carefully about how we deal with that. I would be very opposed to the government itself becoming the ultimate censor–that’s everything that’s founding fathers opposed.”