Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law


Amitai Etzioni


There is an increasingly high number of threats to kill, made by citizens against each other, and against public officials. These threats terrorize people, force them to take protective measures, make them reluctant to assume public office, and, when they do, make them feel as though they have to act cautiously. State and federal laws currently exist that prohibit such threats. This article examines the ways the courts have affected how these laws function. It concludes by suggesting ways these laws can be rendered more effective. Drawing on liberal communitarianism, this article seeks to offer practical recommendations for how the U.S. can adequately respond to our current historical circumstance—namely, one where public officials and lay people are receiving an increasing number of violent threats.


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