Disarm hate parade


Disarm hate parade

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

The majority of hate crimes reported in 2022 were motivated by race and ethnicity, followed by religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and then gender.

In 2022, over 3,400 of the approximately 6,500 race-based hate crimes targeted Black people, which accounted for the most recorded hate-motivated crimes. Next, over 1,100 hate crimes were motivated by antisemitism.

In recent years, hate crimes have been increasing. Between 2020-2021, anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes increased by 70%. And from 2018-2019, anti-Hispanic or Latino hate crimes increased by 8.7%.

Evidence shows hate crimes become more deadly when firearms are involved.

  • Each year, over 10,300 people are victims of hate crimes involving a firearm, which includes incidents in which an individual is threatened or intimidated with a gun.
  • Bigotry and misinformation about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated anti-AANHPI hatred, leading to a 169% increase in hate crimes perpetrated against AANPHI people, with incidents doubling from 3,795 to 6,603 in March of 2021 alone.
  • Between 2017-2019, 74% of homicides against transgender and non-gender-conforming people involved a firearm – most of whom were Black transgender women of color.
  • In 2021, hate crimes in the United States reached the highest level since the federal government began tracking this data over thirty years ago, with 10,840 reported incidents affecting 12,822 victims, nearly a 25% increase from 2020.
  • Evidence shows that hate crimes are significantly underreported – a nationally representative survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that from 2005-2019, there were approximately 250,000 hate crimes each year, over 20 times higher than FBI totals.
Pulse te memorial
Pulse te memorial

In 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida — a refuge for the LGBTQ community, a gunman shot and killed 49 people, injuring 53 others. The Pulse nightclub shooting was the deadliest hate crime committed against LGBTQ people in modern U.S. history and, because the shooting occurred during the club’s “Latin Night,” it also had a disproportionate impact on the Latinx community.

Mass Shootings Driven By Hate

Mass shootings, like the one at Pulse nightclub, can increase psychological distress and deprive communities of safe spaces. A study found that LGBTQ individuals in socially conservative areas said they would be less likely to attend safe spaces like LGBTQ nightclubs due to safety concerns after the shooting. While the Pulse shooting may be the deadliest hate crime incident recorded in recent history, it is certainly not the only hate-driven mass shooting. Mass shootings driven by hate include, but are not limited to:

  • 2012: A white supremacist with ties to neo-nazi groups attacked a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people.

  • 2015: A white supremacist looking to start a “race war” shot and killed nine Black people and wounded three others at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

  • 2018: 11 people were shot and killed with another six injured at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by an antisemitic, white supremacist.

  • 2019: A mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, at a Walmart killed 22 people and injured 24 others, the majority Latinx. The perpetrator confessed to having the intention of targeting Mexicans.

  • 2019: There were two high-profile fatal attacks on the Jewish community. Three people were shot and killed and three injured at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City, New Jersey. In Poway, California, at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, one person was shot and killed and three others injured.

  • 2021: Eight people – all Asian American women – were killed in a shooting spree in Atlanta. The shooter was racially motivated in his attack.

  • 2022: A mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, at a grocery store killed ten people and injured three others, the majority Black. The shooter admitted to having white supremacist motivations in targeting a primarily Black community.

  • 2022: Five people were shot and killed and 19 others were injured at Club-Q, an LGBTQ-friendly bar, in Colorado Springs, CO, on the eve of Transgender Remembrance Day. The shooter ran a neo-nazi website and used gay and racial slurs while gaming online.

  • 2023: Three people – all Black – were targeted and killed at a Dollar Store in Jacksonville, FL. The shooter used racial slurs, left behind a racist screed, and drew swastikas on his firearms.

On too many occasions in our history, hate-filled assailants have used firearms to kill and injure mass groups of people. This is not new — hate and firearms have a long history in America.

On December 29, 1890, an estimated 300 Lakota people – mostly women and children – were massacred with machine guns near the Wounded Knee Creek in the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota.

Less than a century ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a thriving Black neighborhood, the Greenwood District, was devastated by bullets and flames that left 100-300 people dead and the entire neighborhood destroyed.

20160714 Disarm Hate Rally5596


20160714 Disarm Hate Rally5596

While we may not be able to change an individual’s beliefs or hatred they have for particular groups, we can keep guns away from those who have shown they are prone to hateful violence.

Many states have taken proactive steps to prevent the purchase and possession of firearms for individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate or bias-motivated crimes based on perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, or a subset of these categories. And legislation has been introduced at the federal level to prevent individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing a firearm.


Hate crimes are on the rise.

In 2020 hate crimes rose to the highest level since the FBI began tracking such incidents in the 90s. But, even as hate crimes rise, our country’s capacity to prevent and address such incidents has lagged; today, only seven states prohibit people convicted of a hate crime misdemeanor from owning a gun. Many will plead down to a hate crime misdemeanor from other charges to prevent losing their right to own a firearm.


Tell Congress to pass the Disarm Hate Act!

Take Action

The Disarm Hate Act (S.2776) would close the current gap in federal law and prevent any person who had been convicted of a hate crime misdemeanor, or who received a sentencing enhancement for hate or bias in the commission of a misdemeanor, from purchasing or possessing a firearm. It was first introduced in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting and reintroduced in the 118th Congress by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16) again introduced a companion bill (H.R.5435) into the House of Representatives.

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