The Hate Crimes Prevention Act would prohibit the purchase, possession or shipment of a firearm by anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime or who received a hate crime sentence enhancement, and prohibit the sale of firearms to anyone reasonably suspected to be guilty of a misdemeanor hate crime.
“Following the horrific tragedy in Orlando, we must come to terms with the fact that thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action,” said Senator Baldwin. “We should prevent people that have been convicted of a hate crime from purchasing or possessing firearms. This is common sense and it will help us save lives.”
This legislation comes as known hate groups are growing in the United States. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), 892 hate groups are currently operating in the United States, up 14 percent since 2014 and almost 33 percent since 2000. According to National Crime Victimization Survey data, an average of about 259,000 hate crimes happen each year, and between 2010 and 2014 alone, more than 43,000 hate crimes were committed with a firearm.