NEW MILFORD, NJ (Bergen County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Wednesday stood with Barbara and Jimmy Drake — the family of New Milford resident Darren Drake, who was killed in the 2017 New York City West Side Highway ISIS-inspired Lone Wolf terrorist truck attack — to call for critical steps to fight back against ISIS-inspired Lone Wolf terrorist attacks, especially in the wake of the attack on Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.
Critical Anti-Terror Steps Gottheimer is Calling for Include:
- Passing and enacting the Darren Drake Act: Gottheimer’s bipartisan Darren Drake Act recently passed the House, and Gottheimer is now pushing for the legislation to be introduced and passed in the Senate, to get it fully across the finish line. The bill will help stop ISIS-inspired and Lone Wolf Terrorists from using trucks and other vehicles as weapons of terror.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigation into the Texas Synagogue Attacker: Gottheimer is requesting that DHS complete an investigation into how the Colleyville, TX synagogue attacker entered the country, with a comprehensive report to Congress within 60 days.
- Boosting Federal Investment to Protect Houses of Worship: Gottheimer has called for increased federal investment in the Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to help protect houses of worship, schools, and community organizations from terrorist threats.
“The Darren Drake Act is a commonsense bipartisan bill aimed at stopping ISIS-inspired and other domestic terrorists from easily acquiring trucks and other vehicles to wreak havoc and cause mass destruction and death,” Gottheimer said. “But it is just one critical weapon against the alarming rise in terrorism, extremism, and acts of hate in the United States and around the world. There is no time to waste. And we must use every weapon in our arsenal against terror.”
“Yesterday, I also asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to conduct a full and immediate investigation into this domestic terrorist attack and to report back with their results in the next sixty days. The American people deserve to know how this violent extremist, who worships at the altar of another terrorist with ties to al-Qaeda, was able to enter our country, and why we weren’t better coordinating with global law enforcement and intelligence. We can’t afford gaps in our fight against terror. We must be two steps ahead of lone wolf terrorists and extremists on our soil. As part of that, we must also invest additional resources in the security of our houses of worship. That is why this week, I joined my colleagues in asking that we increase the investment in the vital Non-Profit Security Grants to further protect our houses of worship,” Gottheimer said.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years – four years since New Milford and the Drakes lost Darren. Four years since an ISIS-inspired lone wolf terrorist rented a vehicle, used it as a weapon of terror on the West Side Highway, and killed their son and other innocent souls. Four years since Darren’s dad, Jimmy, sat across from me and, with tears in his eyes, declared that no other family should suffer what he, his mother, Barbara, and their family had – and that we must take action, in Congress, in the country they love, to stop any terrorist on American soil from deploying the same heinous tactics that had killed their son,” Gottheimer said.
Both ISIS-inspired homegrown terrorists and domestic extremists have promoted ramming and vehicle attacks for years, with vehicle attacks on the rise in recent years. To help prevent attacks like these, the Darren Drake Act requires the Department of Homeland Security to develop and disseminate best practices for vehicle rental companies and dealers to report suspicious behavior to law enforcement, helping them stop potential threats in their paths. These best practices will be developed and updated in consultation with federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as industry stakeholders, Gottheimer said.
The bill also requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to Congress regarding the implementation of these best practices and other ways they are working to help improve coordination between the Department and rental vehicle providers.