GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Georgia lawmakers are reacting after a murderous plot to attack a predominately black church in Gainesville was uncovered by police this week.
Lawmakers are now pushing for new hate crime laws in the state.
Police said the white teenage girl was planning a racially motivated knife attack on the Bethel AME in Gainesville.
The Georgia State Legislative Black Caucus said it would work to pass a bill that would protect civil rights and give prosecutors the tools they need to add additional charges if it was a racially motivated crime.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Georgia is one of four states without a hate crimes law.
Detractors of hate crime legislation have traditionally argued one should not be prosecuted for what is one’s heart when they commit a crime, but should only be punished only for the crime itself.
There is a push to have the 16-year-old girl, who is currently charged with attempted murder, as an adult. Her name has not been released because she is still in the juvenile justice system, but if that changes, her name would be made public.
The next legislative session begins after the New Year.