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The Disarm Hate Act Would Help Prevent Hate-Motivated Gun Violence

September 13, 2023

Weak gun laws at the federal level and in states such as Florida enable people radicalized by identity-based hate to commit deadly acts of violence against vulnerable communities. Every day, more than 28 hate crimes are committed with a gun, and with the number of hate crimes that law enforcement reports to the FBI at an all-time high, it is more urgent than ever for Congress to pass legislation that bars individuals with a history of committing hate crimes from accessing firearms.On September 13, 2023, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Maxwell Frost (D-FL) reintroduced the Disarm Hate Act. This legislation would help prevent acts of hate-motivated gun violence by prohibiting individuals convicted of violent-misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, 1 Year Later

August 10, 2023

Less than two weeks after the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, in May 2022, the third-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history claimed the lives of 21 people in Uvalde, Texas, including 19 children. Following decades of inaction, these horrific events spurred action in Congress. Responding to calls from victims' families and gun violence prevention activists, President Joe Biden and Democratic senators, including Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and Republican senators such as Texas Sen. John Cornyn and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis reached across the aisle to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA)—the most significant gun violence reduction legislation in 30 years.The BSCA demonstrates that it is possible for Congress to come together and pass legislation to curb gun violence. It is an important first step to addressing gun violence as the nation witnesses its devastating toll in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Now, however, progress must breed progress. By passing the BSCA, Congress laid the foundation for what must be a relentless campaign to combat America's gun violence epidemic with robust measures, including reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons, requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, instituting safe storage requirements, and making targeted efforts to address the epidemic's root causes. In order to build upon the success of the BSCA and effectively make the case for additional federal legislation, policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels must ensure that the BSCA's policies are properly implemented and that its billions of dollars in investments are successfully leveraged to reduce violence in U.S. communities.

8 Ways To Reduce Gun Violence in Minnesota

June 6, 2023

More recently, the Minnesota House and Senate, with the support of Gov. Tim Walz (D) and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (D), took decisive action by 1) expanding background checks to include all firearm sales; and 2) passing an ERPO law that allows law enforcement and family members to petition a court for an order to temporarily remove firearms from an individual in crisis. Other notable efforts from Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan include distributing more than 40,000 free gun locks in 2022 as part of the "Make Minnesota Safe & Secure" initiative; launching a violent death data dashboard in 2023 through the Minnesota Department of Health to educate and inform stakeholders on trends in suicide, homicide, unintentional firearm deaths, law enforcement interventions, and other undetermined violent deaths in Minnesota; and proposing a $300 million investment plan for public safety funding in cities, counties, and Tribal governments across the state as part of the newly revised "One Minnesota" initiative.Gov. Walz and the gun safety majority in the Minnesota Legislature should be applauded for championing these commonsense solutions supported by a majority of voters. Policymakers must build on this momentum in the next legislative session by passing additional measures to protect the lives of all Minnesotans. To improve public safety further, Minnesota should consider the eight actions discussed in this report, as they would help keep all its communities safe from gun violence.

Gun Violence Is Having a Devastating Impact on Young People

June 10, 2022

From 2019 to 2020, gun homicides among children and teenagers rose dramatically. As a result, firearms are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 17. In addition, young Americans are suffering from a rapid and devastating rise in school shootings, increasingly mourning the loss of a parent due to firearm-related violence, and experiencing nonfatal gunshot injuries and gunshot threats at an alarming frequency.Despite these concerning trends, some elected officials refuse to protect our youth from gun-related crimes. Instead, they are blocking commonsense gun safety laws and even pushing for counterproductive measures that would further endanger children and teenagers. This must change. 

The Impact of Gun Violence in Michigan

February 10, 2022

Michigan has taken important steps in passing laws that prevent guns from falling into the hands of individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others. According to the latest scorecard from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Michigan received a "C" grade for the strength of its gun laws in 2020. The state requires individuals to have a permit before they can purchase a handgun from a private seller, a form of law that a growing body of research suggests is effective at reducing gun homicides. The state also requires private gun owners to report missing or stolen firearms. These actions have worked: Compared with other states, Michigan ranked 31st in terms of gun deaths per every 100,000 people from 2015 to 2019. More recently, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a $75 million plan that includes targeting gun trafficking; supporting programs to increase access to social as well as mental health services; and expanding jobs, education, and employment opportunities in communities affected by violence. After the terrible shooting at Oxford High School in November 2020, Gov. Whitmer correctly called gun violence a public health crisis and pledged to do even more to address it.Despite important progress, however, many gun reform bills in Michigan have been met with opposition, particularly from Republicans in the state legislature. As a result, gun violence remains a key issue that affects communities across the Great Lakes State. Every day, more than three people are killed with a gun and more than nine people are nonfatally injured. In this regard, all state leaders should support additional steps to prevent gun violence. This report presents six aspects of gun violence in Michigan that are particularly alarming or above the national average and that support the need for actions and policies to further reduce and prevent gun violence.