Washington, D.C., October 29, 2018 – As more information continues to emerge regarding this weekend’s deadly shooting that killed 11 innocent Jewish members of a Pittsburgh-area synagogue, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released a new analysis of hate crimes and gun violence in the United States, noting the 60 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, the largest single-year increase on record. The organization decried the easy access to weapons of war that allowed such hatred to fester into violence, and called on voters across the country to make their voices heard next week against this ongoing horror.
“Yet again, a community is reeling after an act of unfathomable violence. And yet again, that violence was committed with a weapon of war that never should have been in the shooter’s hands,” stated Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign. “The tragic truth is that ease of access to dangerous guns allows hate to become deadly. And until we take action to make sure that these weapons aren’t easily obtained, we will continue to see these tragedies take place. In just one week, voters across the country will head to the polls to elect new governors, new senators, and new members of Congress. This is our opportunity to put in office elected officials who will stand up for gun safety once and for all and keep our communities safe. Our lives literally depend on it.”
In 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League, hate crimes rose in America’s 10 largest cities by 12.5 percent, increasing for the fourth year in a row. Every state in the country reported at least one anti-Semitic incident, with 1,986 cases of harassment, vandalism, or physical assaults against Jews and Jewish institutions in the last year. A new fact sheet on hate crimes and gun violence can be found here.
Squirrel Hill is only the latest community to be victimized by a shooter using an assault weapon, joining Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, and Sandy Hook. Brady was the first major gun violence prevention organization to call for a federal ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and multiple studies have shown that a ban is effective in preventing dangerous individuals from accessing these weapons of war. Brady’s fact sheet on banning assault weapons can be found here.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.