A New York lawmaker has introduced a bill that would revoke gun rights from hate crime offenders, even those with misdemeanor offenses.
Before we get to the meat of the matter, the FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
But the FBI makes it clear that “hate itself is not a crime,” noting further that the agency is “mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.”
According to Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Manhattan), the author of the bill known as Senate Bill S5569, hate crimes are on the rise in New York since the election of President Trump.
Since the majority of hate crimes are of the misdemeanor level, those individuals do not lose their 2A rights. Under New York law, only those individuals convicted of a “serious offense” will lose their 2A rights.
Sen. Squadron’s bill would add hate crimes to the list of “serious offenses” that prohibit an individual from keeping and bearing arms.
The example he gave The New York Daily News was spray painting a swastika on a synagogue wall. Under current law, that hate crime wouldn’t lead to the revocation of the offender’s 2A rights. If SB s5569 were to pass, it would.
“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,” said Squadron in the bill memo.
“Allowing those who commit and are convicted of hate crimes to possess guns only gives them a fatal tool to spread their hate,” he added.
Squadron cited the Center for American Progress which claims that Minnesota, Oregon, and New Jersey, among three other states, have similar laws on the books.
At least one gun rights advocate was quick to point out the redundancy of the bill.
“If a Hate Crime is serious or violent, laws already on the books would prohibit the offender from owning a firearm,” said Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment foundation, in an email to GunsAmerica.
“Liberal anti-gun fanatics want to make everything they don’t agree with a hate crime. Some even want to make owning a firearm a hate crime,” Gottlieb added.
The bill currently sits in a state Senate committee. There is a companion bill also in the Assembly sponsored by Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-North Shore Long Island).
If passed, the bill “shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law.”