(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/20/17) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling on all Americans to urge their congressional representatives to co-sponsor and support the Disarm Hate Act (H.R. 2841/S.1324). The act is sponsored by Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) and Senator Robert Casey (D-PA).
Introduced in June — one week before the Congressional baseball practice shooting and two months before the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. — the act would ban gun sales to people who have been convicted of a hate crime or a misdemeanor committed out of hatred of a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability from attaining a firearm.
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“CAIR urges Congress to support the Disarm Hate Act and better protect minority community members from gun violence by disarming those convicted of violent hate crimes,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw.
Although convicted felons are currently prohibited from owning a gun under Federal law, only six states prohibit individuals with a misdemeanor hate crime from buying one.
“If you commit a hate crime, you shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun. Period. There is a clear link between these horrific hate crimes and gun violence. We know that those who commit hate crimes become increasingly violent as time goes on. No American family should have to suffer because of this loophole. Let’s disarm hate once and for all,” said Rep. Cicilline.
“If you’ve been convicted of a crime based on hate, you should have zero access to a gun. It’s not complicated,” added Senator Casey.
The Disarm Hate Act addresses the loophole by amending the federal criminal code to include those convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime or an enhanced sentence crime because it was partially motivated by hate. For an act to fall under this classification, it needs to involve the use, attempted use, or the threat of using physical force or a weapon to inflict physical harm on a person based one of the protected classification identities.
According to research completed by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, “hate crimes are up about 20 percent in the nation’s largest cities so far in 2017.” In one of these cities, Washington D.C., hate crimes rose 62 percent from the prior year. For anti-Muslim hate crimes in particular, the nation experienced a 67 percent increase from 2016.
CAIR supports reasonable gun safety reforms that could have the potential to stop mass-shootings like the ones that took place in Florida, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and Charleston. Policies like expanding background checks to all gun sales – including private handgun sales, gun shows and online sales; help keep guns out of the hands of individuals convicted of hate crimes, domestic violence or stalking. CAIR also calls for federally-funded research into the causes and effects of gun violence in America.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert McCaw, 202-999-8292, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com