NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch referred to a bill aimed at preventing those convicted of a violent misdemeanor hate crime from obtaining a gun as “redundant,” “unconstitutional confiscations” of firearms and falsely claimed it’s creating a “new classification of felony.”
In May, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced Senate and House versions of The Disarm Hate Act , which would make it illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime to purchase a firearm. The bill defines “misdemeanor hate crime” as a misdemeanor under federal, state, or tribal law that “was motivated by hate or bias because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity ... or disability of any person” and that “involves the use or attempted use of physical force, the threatened use of a deadly weapon, or other credible threat to the physical safety of any person.” Currently, individuals convicted of such crimes can legally purchase firearms in many states.
Loesch suggested the law would treat misdemeanors like felonies, saying it would create a “new classification of felony,” but instead it simply expands the list of prohibited gun possessors. And some misdemeanor convictions already carry a gun-purchase prohibition under federal law, such as the federal prohibition on individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. Laws prohibiting individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors from buying guns have been repeatedly upheld by courts, casting doubt on Loesch’s suggestion that the Disarm Hate Act would be unconstitutional. The NRA spokesperson also managed to claim that this proposed law is redundant when it is actually an expansion of current federal law and when only 30 states currently have “misdemeanor hate crime” definitions and only six of those prevent someone convicted from purchasing a firearm.
During the June 10 edition of her NRATV show, Relentless, Loesch also cast doubt on the premise that those convicted of a hate crime are more likely to commit another violent crime. She went on to suggest a hate crime definition isn’t actually necessary because “all crime is hate”:
DANA LOESCH (HOST): Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey has decided that in order to stop shootings like the one that took place in Virginia Beach, lawmakers need to disarm those convicted of a hate crime.
LOESCH: Sen. Casey is just the latest of many looking to expand the scope of unconstitutional confiscations further. With me now to discuss the Disarm Hate Act, columnist Salena Zito, who does great work, by the way, covering mid-America stuff, and she did great work doing that for the last election. Salena, this from Bob Casey. He seems to be doing a couple of things. He wants to create a new classification of felony, it seems, but also why is he just not going after the individuals who are committing these crimes and making sure these prosecutions for these felonious acts committed with a firearm, that these people aren’t prosecuted?
SALENA ZITO: Well, first of all, I should tell you I’ve known David West almost all of my life and I was thrilled when that ruling came down. So that was really, really good news. In terms of what Sen. Bob Casey is doing, I think this is a way to chip away at gun laws and gun control until they finally sort of get where they want. And so it’s like going, it’s like a moth trying to go around into a light. At some point it finds its way into the light, sometimes. And I think that that’s what they’re trying to do with these different laws. And it really makes no sense not to go over quote unquote -- go after quote unquote “the bad guys” but instead going after people who have the legal right to own a gun.
LOESCH: Yeah, and the actions that he is -- or the criminal actions that he’s talking about specifically, he’s looking at misdemeanor hate crime which he said often leads to violent felony with a gun. I would love to see his data on that. But it seems redundant. I mean, you know, hate crime -- all crime is hate, that’s almost an entirely separate issue here, but there is a larger discussion that has been taking place in the country with lawmakers trying to create even more classifications of felonies. I know that there is a crime-a-day account on Twitter that I love to look at every single day. There are so many things that people are doing every day that they don’t even realize or see that they don’t even realize are felonies. If someone commits one of the acts that’s already under law as being so awful that you become ineligible to have a firearm, I mean, doesn’t that really cover it? It seems like he’s kind of creating a redundancy also.
In fact, individuals with prior violent misdemeanor convictions are nine times more likely to commit another violent crime and nine times as likely to commit other firearm offenses. According to The Giffords Law Center, researchers have said those who commit hate crimes are “an even greater risk to public safety because” they tend to escalate their offenses.
Loesch used similar tactics to spread misinformation and outright lies about the Violence Against Women Act in April, criticizing a House bill to expand the definition of “intimate partner” under federal law to all dating partners by falsely claiming all dating partners were already included in the current federal law definition.