What is the problem?
In an average year, more than 25,000 hate crimes in the US involve a firearm—69 a day. Easy access to guns gives a single, hate-filled individual the means to shatter numerous lives and whole communities.
The vast majority of hate crimes are directed against people of color, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people. Among reported hate crimes, racially motivated crime is the most common. Nearly half of race-based hate crimes target Black people. While the number of hate crimes involving religious bias has decreased over the last year, Americans continue to be targeted on the basis of their faith. In 2018, nearly 60% of such crimes targeted Jewish people and Jewish institutions. One in five hate crimes targets LGBTQ people.
Why is it an issue?
Guns make hate more deadly.
It is too easy for people who shouldn’t have guns—including people with felony convictions, domestic abusers, and fugitives—to buy them, but this is especially true when it comes to hate crimes. Under current federal law, a violent or threatening hate crime misdemeanor conviction does not prohibit someone from buying or having a gun. Recognizing the role that guns play in hate crimes can prevent future tragedies and incidents of gun violence that happen each day.
By the numbers
3 out of 4 homicides of trans people are with a gun.
Racism, most often against Black people, motivated 63 percent of reported hate crimes in 2020.
Anti-religious bias, most often anti-Jewish bias, motivated 15 percent of reported hate crimes in 2020.
Anti-LGBTQ+ bias motivated 17 percent of reported hate crimes in 2020.
What are the solutions?
Guns and hate are a fatal combination. In an average year, more than 25,000 hate crimes in the United States involve a firearm—more than 69 each day. In most of the US, some people convicted of hate crimes can still legally buy and have guns. Congress and state legislatures must pass laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who have been convicted of hate crimes.
Extreme Risk Laws
When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see the warning signs. Extreme Risk laws, sometimes referred to as “Red Flag” laws, allow loved ones or law enforcement to intervene by petitioning a court for an order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns.
Prohibit Open Carry
Carrying firearms visibly in public, known as open carry, is a dangerous policy. It is exploited by white supremacists and opposed by law enforcement and the public. Members of hate groups regularly openly carry guns in a show of intimidation.