NEW YORK – Just days ahead of one year since the largest and deadliest mass shooting in modern American history at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and just over a week before the two-year mark of the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina – Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and a gun violence survivor from the Charleston church shooting are applauding the introduction of the Disarm Hate Act – new legislation introduced today by Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) that would prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing or purchasing guns.
Next week, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action are partnering with organizations across the country for #DisarmHate Week – spanning the week between the Orlando and Charleston tragedies – to honor those killed in hate-fueled gun violence tragedies and to demand that our leaders do more to prevent the hate crimes that occur in America every day.
Nearly 300,000 hate crimes take place in the United States per year, 8,000 of which involve a gun – more than 20 each day – and reports indicate that they are on the rise. The vast majority of hate crimes are motivated by prejudice against a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity. In 2015, hate crimes reported to the FBI revealed that:
- More than half were driven by racism, with approximately a quarter of all hate crimes motivated by bias against African-Americans;
- More than 20 percent of hate crimes were motivated by bias against a religion, most often anti-Semitism or anti-Islamic prejudices; and
- Roughly 20 percent were driven by prejudice against someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
STATEMENT FROM REV. SHARON RISHER, A MEMBER OF THE EVERYTOWN SURVIVOR NETWORK WHOSE MOTHER ETHEL LANCE, AND COUSINS SUSIE JACKSON AND TYWANZA SANDERS, WERE SHOT AND KILLED ON JUNE 17, 2015 AT THE EMANUEL AME CHURCH IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA:
“The murder of my mother and two cousins while attending church nearly two years ago was a senseless act of gun violence, carried out by a man filled with hate and armed with a gun. The pain of knowing my mother and cousins were killed in a racially motivated hate crime carried out against black church goers peacefully praying is something I carry with me every day. As I looked ahead to marking two years since their murder, I’m honored to see leaders like Rep. Cicilline and Sen. Casey take a stand to prevent gun violence by introducing the Disarm Hate Act.”
STATEMENT FROM JOHN FEINBLATT, PRESIDENT OF EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“We cannot accept armed hatred becoming the country’s new normal. It’s intolerable that violent criminals convicted of hate crimes can buy and possess guns legally in the United States. Rep. Cicilline’s and Sen. Casey’s bill is a common-sense solution, and now Congress should act on its obligation to protect Americans from hate-fueled attacks.”
STATEMENT FROM SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA, PART OF EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“We know guns and hate are a deadly mix. In fact, next week marks two national shooting tragedies spurred by hate, and we continue to see an increase in shootings targeting marginalized communities. That is why we applaud the introduction of legislation by Rep. Cicilline and Sen. Casey to combat these deadly hate crimes. As a mother of a gay daughter and an advocate for common-sense gun reform, I implore all Americans to join me in demanding our nation’s leaders do more to make all Americans safer.”