Summer Lee, Bob Casey Co-Lead Introduction of Bicameral Coalition Introduce Disarm Hate Act

For Immediate Release
September 13, 2023
Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

Summer Lee, Bob Casey Co-Lead Introduction of Bicameral Coalition Introduce Disarm Hate Act

(Washington, DC) — Today Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) joined Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), Representatives James Clyburn (SC-06), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Brian Higgins (NY-26), John Garamendi (CA-08), Katie Porter (CA-47) and Nikema Williams (GA-05) to introduce the Disarm Hate Act, legislation which would prevent individuals convicted of violent misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms. The Disarm Hate Act would address the dangerous gap in current federal law by providing that individuals who have been 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.

All original co-leads represent states and districts that have been impacted by hate-motivated mass shootings, including Lee, who represents the community devastated by the 2018 Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting–the deadliest antisemetic attack in American history.

Congresswoman Lee said, “Representing a community that’s still reeling from the trauma of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, I see every day the devastating impact of laws that give white supremacists access to weapons of war. The Disarm Hate Act will protect our communities against the scourge of anti-Blackness, rising antisemitism, islamophobia, anti-asian and anti-trans hate crimes. By addressing the deadly gap in our federal laws, our bill will keep firearms out of the hands of individuals convicted of misdemeanor-level hate crimes or those who have received enhanced sentences due to hate or bias motivation. This is a critical step towards safeguarding our communities against gun violence and ensuring minoritized and vulnerable folks don’t have to live in constant fear.”

In June, after a verdict was reached in the trial, Lee spoke on the House Floor honoring the 11 Congregants of Congregation Dor Hadash, New Light Congregation and Tree of Life Congregation who were murdered. She then called for action to address the trauma felt by Pittsburgh’s Jewish community through the trial and action dismantle great replacement theory, antisemitism, and systems of white supremacy threatening marginalized communities. Lee is also fighting to advance funding in the upcoming FY2024 appropriations package for community projects (formerly known as earmarks) to address the ongoing trauma still facing Pittsburgh’s Jewish community in the wake of the shooting—including $1 million to the Tree of Life Foundation to create a community gathering space to educate against antisemitism within the renovated Tree of Life building, and almost $500,000 to help 10/27 Healing Partnership expand capacity to respond to the additional trauma from the trial. Lee’s request has been passed through the House Appropriations Committee and moved forward to await a vote by the full House.

“People who have been convicted of hate crimes should not have access to firearms. It’s that simple,” Senator Casey said. “I’m introducing the Disarm Hate Act because it’s commonsense to keep guns out of the hands of people seeking to commit acts of hateful violence.”

“Four years after a white supremacist came to El Paso to slaughter Mexicans and immigrants in what was the deadliest targeted attack against Latinos in modern American history, hatred against Hispanics and migrants undoubtedly persists,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Hate and bigotry, coupled with easy access to weapons of war, make for a terrifying and deadly combination. Too many communities – including my own – know the consequences all too well. As legislators, we have a solemn obligation to act and prevent further gun violence atrocities. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing critical legislation to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should never have them.”

  • In June 2015, a white supremacist murdered nine worshippers during a bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • In June 2016, a gunman attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, leaving 49 people dead and 53 others injured.
  • In October 2018, 11 worshippers were killed and seven others injured during at attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • In August 2019, a man killed 23 victims and wounded 23 others in a shooting in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, admitting to targeting Mexicans.
  • In March 2021, a gunman killed eight victims on a shooting rampage through three spas in Atlanta, Georgia, six of whom were Asian American women.
  • In February 2022, a gunman with a history of expressing support for Nazis and Proud Boys groups opened fire at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Portland, Oregon, killing 1 and injuring 5 others.
  • In May 2022, a self-described supporter of white supremacy killed 10 people in a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York.
  • In May 2022, a Nevada man carried firearms into a Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, shooting and killing one congregant and injuring five others with gunfire in an attempt to kill all 44 parishioners. The man allegedly targeted the church because of the congregants’ national origin and religion.
  • In August 2023, an individual tore down the pride flag in a Southern California store while yelling homophobic slurs. When the store owner confronted the individual, he shot and killed her. The assailant had a history of anti-LGBTQI+ posts on social media, and the incident is now being investigated as a hate crime.


Full text of the bill can be found here:

The Disarm Hate Act is endorsed by National Violence Domestic Hotline, Amnesty International USA, Everytown, Brady, The United Methodist Church, The Violence Policy Center, March for Our Lives, WOLA, ADL, AFT, Giffords, Human Rights Campaign, and Sandy Hook Promise

“Seven years after the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and only weeks after the deadly shooting in Jacksonville that left three Black Floridians dead — my home state of Florida has seen and lived through some of the darkest instances of gun-enabled hate at the cost of innocent lives,” said Rep. Frost. “People with a criminal history of hate and violence in their hearts should not be able to access a gun to commit the next mass shooting. The Disarm Hate Act is a critical step we must take to end gun violence in Florida and across our country and spark change from tragedy.”

“As we tragically witnessed in Charleston, South Carolina at Emanuel AME Church in 2015, and far too often elsewhere, hatred and guns are a lethal mix,” said Rep. Clyburn. “We must do more to keep deadly firearms out of the hands of those seeking to use them to commit these heinous crimes. To that end, earlier this year I reintroduced my legislation to close the Charleston Loophole, and today I am pleased to join Rep. Escobar in reintroducing the Disarm Hate Act. I urge the Republican majority to bring these common-sense bills to the House floor for a vote. Lives are at stake.”

“Oregon is a leader in gun safety and already classifies hate crimes as a firearm-prohibiting offense. It’s time to bring Oregon’s gun safety model to Congress. It is unacceptable that people convicted of targeted hate crimes can continue to access guns, which we know increases the lethality of these attacks. This should be something that everyone can agree on,” said Rep. Blumenauer.

“It is unacceptable that an individual who has been convicted of a misdemeanor-level hate crime can purchase a firearm. As the author of California’s assault weapons ban and a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I am committed to ending America’s gun violence epidemic,” said Rep. Garamendi. “While hate-based mass shootings have become all too common, we cannot accept them as inevitable. I am honored to work with Rep. Escobar to build a safer future for families nationwide.”

“Western New York knows all too well the devastating impact that crimes motivated by hate and bias can have on a community,” said Rep. Brian Higgins. “This legislation builds on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and takes another step toward ending senseless violence, like the racist mass shooting that took place in Buffalo, by closing legal loopholes to prevent those with a history of committing hate crimes from possessing deadly weapons. I am proud to join my colleagues today in introducing this commonsense bill.”

“Hate crimes are rising across the country, but criminals who commit them can still get their hands on a gun,” said Rep. Porter. “We know how to prevent gun violence, and we need politicians to have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby to save lives. I’m proud to co-lead the Disarm Hate Act with Rep. Escobar to protect our communities from hate and violence.”

Rep. Nikema Williams, a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force said, “Just over two years ago, Atlanta witnessed the Atlanta Spa Shootings, a horrific act of anti-Asian hate. Our communities are still healing from the trauma. No matter your race, ethnicity, or gender, everyone has the right to live without fear of violence in their workplace or public spaces. We’ve mourned tragedy after tragedy from gun violence, it is past time to keep guns out of the hands of people convicted of hate crimes.”

“Violent extremists and hate-motivated offenders pose serious threats to the safety of historically marginalized communities, and easy access to firearms makes it more likely that a hate crime will have a fatal outcome. Hate-motivated offenders have committed some of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history and even when they do not fire guns, they consistently use them to threaten, intimidate, and humiliate their victims. We applaud Senator Casey, Rep. Escobar, and Rep. Frost for introducing the Disarm Hate Act to respond to the growing tide of violent hate crimes and to help prevent these tragedies before they happen,” said Nick Wilson, Senior Director of Gun Violence Prevention, Center for American Progress.

Recent Posts


Apr 11, 2024
Press

Amidst Record Rainfall Lee, Deluzio, Casey, Fetterman Secure $6.6 Million for Pittsburgh’s Parkway East Floodwall

For Immediate Release  April 11, 2024  Contact  Natalie Adams (Casey): 202-228-3789 Charlie Hills (Fetterman): 202-228-6099  Emilia Rowland (Lee): 330-212-2065   Zoe Bluffstone (Deluzio): 771-444-0316  Amidst Record Rainfall Lee, Deluzio, Casey, Fetterman Secure $6.6 Million for Pittsburgh’s Parkway East Floodwall Additional funding follows recent flooding that closed the critical route The Members secured $142.34 million for the […]



Apr 9, 2024
Press

Reps. Lee, García and Senator Markey Urge Biden Admin. to Update Decade-Old Air Pollution Standards For Diesel Locomotives, Use Union Labor in Green Rail Development

**For IMMEDIATE RELEASE** Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov Reps. Lee, García and Senator Markey Urge Biden Admin. to Update Decade-Old Air Pollution Standards For Diesel Locomotives, Use Union Labor in Green Rail Development PITTSBURGH, PA — Today, Rep. Summer Lee (PA-12), Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-4), and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) led a letter with 35 colleagues to […]



Mar 28, 2024
Press

Summer Lee Visits Abandoned Well in Murrysville with PA DEP, Highlighting Infrastructure Law Funding and her Bipartisan Abandoned Wells Legislation 

For Immediate Release  Emilia Rowland, Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov Summer Lee Visits Abandoned Well in Murrysville with PA DEP, Highlighting Infrastructure Law Funding and her Bipartisan Abandoned Wells Legislation  Lee’s bill was passed through the Science, Space, and Technology Committee on a unanimous, bipartisan basis and awaits a vote by the full House  Pittsburgh, PA — Today, Congresswoman  […]