firearms have become a favorite tool of hate-motivated offenders looking to harm, intimidate, and psychologically damage individuals and communities based on their identities.
Weak gun laws at the federal level and in states such as Florida enable people radicalized by identity-based hate to commit deadly acts of violence against vulnerable communities.
reintroduced the Disarm Hate Act.10 This legislation would help prevent acts of hate-motivated gun violence by prohibiting individuals convicted of violent-misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms.
criminal legal system treats crimes motivated by bias differently from other violent crimes because of their specific yet widespread impact.
linked to a wide range of health conditions among targeted parties, including “increased rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use.”
Because hate-motivated violence is intentionally directed at individuals based on their actual or perceived characteristics, these crimes are extremely personal and have deep psychological impacts on both victims and members of the communities who share victims’ characteristics.
sending the message that people are unsafe because of who they are.
This not only creates widespread distress but also deprives communities of safe spaces.
unique tendency to continue or escalate to future physical violence.
individuals who commit hate crimes often begin with relatively minor crimes and acts of hate before moving to more serious and violent conduct.
Guns are often the tools through which hate-motivated individuals carry out their violence.
Because of the high-profile nature of these attacks and the sheer number of injuries and deaths that can be achieved using a firearm, armed hate is uniquely able to terrorize entire communities.
More often, hate-motivated individuals use guns to add credibility to a threat and intimidate their victims—and in doing so, they inflict serious harm without needing to pull the trigger.
These groups’ purpose revolves around being a warrior for one’s race and committing to use armed opposition against people or groups perceived as threatening their way of life, with guns being the primary tool through which they can assert their power.
In addition to using guns to carry out violent acts of hate, white supremacists and those who carry extreme prejudice use the mere presence of guns to achieve “hierarchical compliance” from their victims.
to intimidate and communicate to targets that they are unwelcome, unprotected, and in immediate danger of armed violence.
internet forums to plan attacks
This means that under the laws of at least 28 states, individuals convicted of a violent hate crime misdemeanor are still legally able to buy guns.
While all but four states have statutes that cover bias based on race, ethnicity, or religion, many do not include gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation.