U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wants Congress to pass tougher hate crimes laws.
Speaking to a group of civil rights lawyers, Holder cited the recent killings of an abortion doctor, an army soldier at a recruitment center, and a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
"Over the last several weeks, we have witnessed brazen acts of violence, committed in places that many would have considered unthinkable," Holder told the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
Holder said that he thinks it is past time for Congress to prosecute violence based on gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
"We will not tolerate murder, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism," he said.
"So let me be clear, the Justice Department will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights ensured under our Constitution," he said.