Lynching is still not a federal crime in the United States, despite nearly 200 attempts by lawmakers to make it so.
Now, as the nation grapples with the death of George Floyd, emotional debate broke out on the Senate floor as one lawmaker stood in the way of allowing the historic passage of a bill that would outlaw lynchings: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
The House has already passed an anti-lynching legislation, which is awaiting approval in the Senate. But Paul has said he is concerned it could allow more minor altercations to be punishable as lynchings.
"Bruises could be considered lynching," Paul told reporters Wednesday. "That's a problem, to put someone in jail for 10 years for some kind of altercation," referring to the measure's penalty for conspiring or attempting to conspire to commit a lynching.
Paul agreed that lynching should be "universally condemned," but said conflating minor offenses with lynching does a "disservice to those who were lynched in our history."