Proposed Legislation Aims to Prevent Misdemeanor Hate Crime Offenders from Owning Firearms

According to the FBI, thousands of hate crimes are reported across the US each year. To deter these kinds of crimes, a Pennsylvania Senator is sponsoring legislation that would prevent people from obtaining guns if they’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime. 

On October 27, it marked the five-year anniversary of the deadliest attack on Jewish people in US history. A gunman killed eleven congregants and injured seven people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The gunman, who was found guilty of 63 criminal charges, including hate crimes, was sentenced to death in August 2023. During the trial, prosecutors showed how the gunman voiced hostilities towards Jewish people on social media.  

“What we’re trying to deal with is a problem of violence,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D- PA). “Not just gun violence but often what proceeds gun violence.” 

Senator Casey is sponsoring the “Disarm Hate Act”. It would prevent people convicted of violent misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms. 

“We know that by the data there are more than 28 of these crimes committed everyday where the individuals would engage in the actions that would constitute a hate crime with a weapon,” said Sen. Casey.  

According to the latest data from the FBI, more than 11-thousand reported hate crime incidents involved more than 13-thousand people last year. It’s roughly 700 more reports compared to the year before. Casey said legislation like this aims to prevent future hate crimes committed with firearms.  

“I think most people would agree, I hope every American would agree, that someone who has a propensity towards violence and has already been adjudicated through the justice system with a violent hate crime should not have a weapon,” said Sen. Casey.  

So far this bill has only been introduced. Last week the FBI warned people there could be an increase in hate crimes in the US due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.