Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Finds 43,000 Hate Crimes Involved Guns from 2010 to 2014, Calls for Legislation Barring Individuals Convicted of Misdemeanor Hate Crimes from Obtaining Guns
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Finds 43,000 Hate Crimes Involved Guns from 2010 to 2014, Calls for Legislation Barring Individuals Convicted of Misdemeanor Hate Crimes from Obtaining Guns

U.S. Rep. Cicilline to introduce bill

Washington, D.C. — According to an analysis conducted by the Center for American Progress, roughly 43,000 hate crimes committed from 2010 to 2014 involved the use or threat of a gun. The analysis, based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, or NCVS, was included in a CAP report released today at an event featuring U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and other experts on the intersection of gun violence and hate crimes.

The report looks at data from the NCVS and finds that hate-motivated individuals terrorizing communities with guns is not limited to high-profile cases such as the attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, or a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Hate-motivated criminals and violent extremists often use guns as a tool to threaten and intimidate members of historically marginalized and vulnerable communities. The use of this uniquely lethal instrument in the commission of hate crimes inflicts substantial damage on the targeted community, even in cases in which the trigger is never pulled.

Recognizing the heightened risk posed by individuals with a demonstrated history of bias-motivated threats and violence against members of historically vulnerable groups that are protected by hate crime laws, the report offers a new policy idea to help keep guns out of their hands: legislation to prohibit individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from buying or possessing guns. Rep. Cicilline announced today that he will introduce this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Hate and bias-motivated crimes have a devastating impact not only on individual victims, but also on the broader community of which those victims are members. The use of guns as a tool of violence and intimidation in the commission of these crimes escalates that harm and creates an enormous risk that a hate crime will turn fatal,” said Chelsea Parsons, Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy at CAP. “Tens of thousands of hate-based crimes, many misdemeanors, that involved the use of a gun have been perpetrated in recent years, and closing the loophole that allows individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes to have easy access to guns is a commonsense step toward protecting targeted communities from lethal violence.”

“As the CAP report demonstrates, the link between hate crimes and gun violence is clear. And we know that misdemeanor offenses are often signs of more serious violence to come,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). “This is a really simple concept. If you threaten a black family because of their race, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun. If you paint a swastika on the door of a synagogue, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun. If you beat a gay person because they’re gay, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun.”

At the panel discussion, Rep. Cicilline was joined by Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center; Steven Hawkins, civil and human rights advocate; and Mayor Steve Scaffidi of Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Click here to view the live stream.
Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.

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