Casey Introduces Legislation to Keep Guns Away from Hate Crime Offenders

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Disarm Hate Act to prevent individuals convicted of violent misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms. The bill would address the dangerous gap in current federal law by providing that individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor-level hate crime, or received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanor crime after a judicial finding that they acted with hate or bias motivation, are prohibited from buying or possessing guns. Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Maxwell Frost (D-FL).


“People who have been convicted of hate crimes should not have access to firearms. It’s that simple,” said Senator Casey. “I’m introducing the Disarm Hate Act because it’s commonsense to keep guns out of the hands of people seeking to commit acts of hateful violence.”


“Violent extremists and hate-motivated offenders pose serious threats to the safety of historically marginalized communities, and easy access to firearms makes it more likely that a hate crime will have a fatal outcome. Hate-motivated offenders have committed some of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history and even when they do not fire guns, they consistently use them to threaten, intimidate, and humiliate their victims. We applaud Senator Casey, Rep. Escobar, and Rep. Frost for introducing the Disarm Hate Act to respond to the growing tide of violent hate crimes and to help prevent these tragedies before they happen,” said Nick Wilson, Senior Director of Gun Violence Prevention, Center for American Progress.


“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.”


“As the recent racist attack in Jacksonville, FL tragically illustrates, hate crimes—those which are motivated by race, gender, sexual identity, religion, national origin, or other demographics—remain a threat to public safety and our communities. Over 10,000 hate crimes are reported annually and are on the rise. Hateful ideology undermines the very principles of equality our nation is built on and is lethal when combined with firearms. It is past time that individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes are prohibited from accessing guns, and Brady applauds Senator Casey, as well as Representatives Escobar and Frost, for re-introducing this pivotal, life-saving legislation,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady: United Against Gun Violence.


This legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Fetterman (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).


This legislation is cosponsored in the House by Representatives Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John Garamendi (D-CA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Katie Porter (D-CA), Nikema Williams (D-GA), and Summer Lee (D-PA).


The Disarm Hate Act is endorsed by The American Federation of Teachers, Anti-Defamation League, Brady: United Against Gun Violence, Ceasefire PA, Center for American Progress, The End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA, Everytown for Gun Safety, GIFFORDS, Human Rights Campaign, Jewish Women International, March for Our Lives, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Newtown Action Alliance, Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, Violence Police Center, Washington Office on Latin America, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the UMC General Board on Church and Society.

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