Wyden, Merkley, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Keep Guns Away from Convicted Hate Crime Offenders

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley and Senate colleagues this week introduced legislation that would prevent individuals convicted of violent misdemeanor hate crimes from buying or possessing firearms.

“Congress needs to pass commonsense gun legislation that keeps guns away from criminals who have been convicted of violent hate crimes,” Wyden said. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce legislation that would close the dangerous gap that lets hate crime offenders buy and own firearms. I’ll fight hard in the Senate to get this bill passed.”

“It’s common sense that we should close any loophole that allows people convicted of a hate crime to have access to guns. Period,” said Senator Merkley. “As we confront a disturbing uptick in these crimes across the nation, offenders must face the consequences of their hateful and dangerous actions, one of which is ensuring they are not able to access weapons of destruction that can be used to further harm targeted communities.”

The Disarm Hate Act would address the dangerous gap in current federal law by providing that individuals convicted of a misdemeanor-level hate crime, or received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanor crime after a judicial finding that they acted with hate or bias motivation, are prohibited from buying or possessing guns.

The legislation was led by U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa. Alongside Wyden and Merkley, the bill was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., John Fetterman, D-Pa., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Peter Welch, D-Vt. 

The bill is endorsed by The American Federation of Teachers, Anti-Defamation League, Brady: United Against Gun Violence, Center for American Progress, The End Gun Violence Campaign at Amnesty International USA, Everytown for Gun Safety, GIFFORDS, Human Rights Campaign, Jewish Women International, March for Our Lives, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Newtown Action Alliance, Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, Violence Police Center, Washington Office on Latin America, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the UMC General Board on Church and Society.

The full text of the bill is here.

A web version of this release is here.