WASHINGTON – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety released the following statements applauding Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), and Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL-10) for reintroducing the Disarm Hate Act — legislation that would prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing or purchasing guns, closing a loophole in our background check system.
“Hate can be deadly when it comes armed with a gun, a reality that has become painfully clear as hate crimes rise across the country,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud Sen. Casey, Rep. Escobar and Rep. Frost for reintroducing legislation to prevent people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning or buying guns, which is the very definition of a common sense law.”
“Like we’ve seen in the tragedies in El Paso, Buffalo, Charleston, Atlanta, and most recently Jacksonville – the dual epidemics of white supremacy and gun violence are deadly,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “Common sense measures, like disarming those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes, saves lives. We applaud the reintroduction of this urgently needed legislation by Sen. Casey, Rep. Escobar, and Rep. Frost, and we will continue to fight alongside our communities to disarm hate.”
Research shows hate crimes are on the rise. In an average year, over 25,000 hate crimes involve a firearm — nearly 70 a day. Just last month, a gunman in Jacksonville, Florida killed three people in a racially motivated shooting.
Current laws do not adequately address the problem. While all felonies prohibit someone from purchasing or possessing a firearm under federal law, most misdemeanors, including hate crime misdemeanors, do not. Hate crime misdemeanors can be serious, violent acts, but under federal law, a hate crime misdemeanor conviction does not prohibit someone from buying or having a gun. In addition, more than half of the states in this country do not have laws closing this gap, meaning that in much of the country, a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime can legally pass a background check and purchase and possess a firearm.
More information on hate crimes is available here.