What is the role of gun laws in the hate-fueled Jacksonville shooting?

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Die-in against gun violence, Tampa. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (12 June 2018).

The shooter in the mass killing last Saturday in Jacksonville had written racist, hate-filled manifestos. A gun safety group is making the link between easy access to guns in the U.S. and violent hate crimes.

Kelly Drane is research director at GIFFORDS.

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“We know that a large percentage of mass shootings and gun violence in general is connected or has some connection to hate. In fact, in this country, there are 10,300 firearm hate crimes each year. That’s 28 per day.

“We also know that the risk factors that motivate people to have these hateful ideologies also are connected with the increased risk of other forms of violence.

“So it’s really critical that our laws are properly addressing this nexus between hate and violence.”

How difficult is it for someone who has committed hate crimes already? Might be able to access firearms?

“Under federal law, if you commit a felony, you know, a crime that raises to the level of a felony. Usually that’s a crime that is punishable by more than one year in jail. You will be prohibited under federal law.

“But we know that many hate crimes are prosecuted as misdemeanor hate crimes. Federal law does not prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes which can still be incredibly violent and cause tremendous pain for victims.

“Those are not prohibiting events and people convicted of those crimes at the misdemeanor level can still access firearms.

“Some states have taken action to close that loophole. But there are still you know, the majority of states that have not addressed that.”

– Kelly Drane with GIFFORDS

Also on Tuesday Café: Hurricane Idalia

Also on Tuesday Café (29 August 2023) we talked with Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) meteorologist Megan Borowski about Hurricane Idalia.

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