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The Orlando shooting, Hate Crimes, Terrorism and Weak Gun Laws in America

Later this week, on Friday, we’ll mark one year since a gunman – filled with hate – walked into a black church in Charleston where he shot and killed nine worshipers.

Fast forward nearly one year, with far too many tragedies in between, and we’re once again reeling from the largest and deadliest mass shooting in modern American history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The connection between these tragedies where specific American communities were targeted and killed is one key factor – the one that makes hate deadly – is that it is far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns in our country.

Gun violence in America too often includes hate crimes and acts of terrorism (a fact sheet on hate crimes, terrorism and gun violence is available here) – that’s why our more than three million supporters are calling on Congress to #DisarmHate. Congress can take action to strengthen our gun laws and close the loopholes that will help prevent lethal hate crimes and acts of terrorism by doing the following:


  • Prohibit people convicted of violent hate crimes from buying or possessing guns. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a bill, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, yesterday that would close this loophole.
  • Give the FBI the authority to block gun sales to suspected terrorists
    • The Orlando terrorist was investigated multiple times for terrorist ties and homicidal threats. Based on this history, terror gap legislation could have given DOJ the ability to block the gun sale to him. Bills introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) would close the terror gap by enabling DOJ to block gun sales to suspected terrorists, while affording suspects due process of law.
    • Require a background check for every gun sale in America.

    If you’re interested in chatting more with gun violence policy experts or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.