NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety today released the following statements applauding the reintroduction of the Disarm Hate Act – 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.
Research shows hate crimes are on the rise. In an average year, more than 10,300 hate crimes involve a firearm — more than 28 each day. Current federal and state gun 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 violent or threatening hate crime misdemeanor conviction does not prohibit someone from buying or having a gun. In addition, while nearly half of the states have laws closing this gap, most states do not. This means that in much of the country a person convicted of a violent hate crime could legally pass a background check and purchase and possess a firearm. More information on hate crimes is available here.
“I survived being shot in the 2006 Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle shooting, where five of my colleagues were also shot, one fatally,” said Cheryl Stumbo, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network who survived the 2006 Jewish Federation Shooting in Seattle, in which six women were shot, one fatally. Cheryl is also a survivor program manager for Everytown for Gun Safety. “At the time, it was the worst hate crime in Washington State history, so I know up close and personally, the awful, reverberating impact that hate crimes have on individuals, families and whole communities. Thirteen years later, I still struggle with some lingering PTSD, anxiety and depression, and my community remains on high alert, never feeling totally safe. The Disarm Hate Act would close the dangerous gap in the law by preventing people who have committed lesser hate crimes from getting their hands on guns the next time they act on their hate.”
“When hate comes armed, it can be deadly,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “But right now, there is no federal law that prevents people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning or buying guns — a situation that defies both common sense and common decency. We applaud Rep. Cicilline and Sen. Casey for honoring the victims of shootings at the Chabad of Poway, Tree of Life Synagogue and thousands of other preventable tragedies for introducing legislation to disarm hate.”