New York lawmaker wants to prohibit hate crime offenders from owning guns

A New York State Senator has proposed a bill that would prohibit hate crime offenders from owning guns.

The New York Daily News reported Democratic Sen. Daniel Squadron proposed the measure, Senate Bill 5569, due to the reportedly rising number of hate crimes, which sometimes are categorized as misdemeanors and thus do not prevent offenders from owning guns under existing firearms laws.

Under current state law, those convicted of a “serious offense” can be barred from owning firearms. However, since many hate crimes are not considered by law to be “serious offenses,” Squadron said his proposal is needed to keep communities safe.

“New York has a duty to take actions that reject acts of bigotry, hatred, misogyny, homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and discrimination in any form because they violate the nation’s core values,” Squadron states in the bill’s sponsor memo. “Allowing those who commit and are convicted of hate crimes to possess guns only gives them a fatal tool to spread their hate.”

Squadron also notes: “According to the Center for American Progress, states such as Minnesota, Oregon, and New Jersey already bar individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from buying and possessing guns.”

The Center for American Progress, a progressive research and public policy organization, found that approximately 43,000 hate crimes committed from 2010 to 2014 involved the use or threat of firearms. The study was based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey.

A companion bill has been proposed in the Assembly and is sponsored by Democrat Charles Lavine.

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