If Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) gets his way, any person convicted of a so-called hate crime would be prohibited from purchasing a firearm.
Cicilline introduced a new bill Wednesday titled “The Hate Crimes Prevention Act” that would effectively bar anyone in the U.S. who has been convicted of a hate crime from purchasing a gun.
According to a press release from Cicilline’s office, the bill aims to address the alleged link between hate crimes and gun violence.
“The link between hate crimes and gun violence is clear,” said Cicilline. “This is a really simple concept. If you threaten a black family because of their race, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun. If you paint a swastika on the door of a synagogue, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun. If you beat a gay person because they’re gay, you shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun.”
While federal law already prohibits felons from purchashing or possessing firearms, Cicilline’s believes that those guilty of a hate crime — even a misdemeanor — should also have to give up their Second Amendment rights.
Hate crimes could include “vandalizing a place of worship or assaulting someone based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability,” the press release noted. Those crimes are often a “precursor for more severe attacks,” it added.
“Firearms are now the weapon of choice for hate criminals, and those weapons amplify the already horrific damage that hate criminals do,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “This is a serious problem that we as a society must face.”
Given that the House and Senate are both under Republican control, Cicilline’s bill is unlikely to make its way through committee, let alone Congress.
Cicilline has a history of introducing legislation aimed at curbing Second Amendment rights. He is the author of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, the End Purchase of Firearms by Dangerous Individuals Act and the Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act.
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