California adopts measure to take guns from those in the ‘Hate Crime Loophole’

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The law, designed to disarm those who may have violent tendencies exhibited by minor civil rights-related crimes, is backed by national gun control groups. (Photo: The Brady Campaign)

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a popular bill last week to strip gun rights from those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes.

The Disarm Hate Act, which passed the California Legislature without a single “no” vote, adds to the state’s already existing list of misdemeanor crimes that result in an automatic 10-year prohibition on possessing a firearm.

The additions include those who are convicted of misdemeanor interference with another person’s civil rights or damage of property because of their perceived race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. Violations would be a felony and result in a lifetime gun ban, up to a year in jail, and fines of $1,000.

The bill’s sponsor Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, argued the measure will save lives. “It is saddening to think that when people look back at this period in our history, it will be marred by incidents of hate, violence and turmoil,” said Jones-Sawyer in a statement on the measure’s passing last month. “Since we cannot undo the past, we can diffuse early signs of hate in people and disarm hate-motivated threats from becoming barbaric acts of violence and begin to write a more promising future.”

The law had the backing of several gun control organizations, including the Brady Campaign, the Violence Prevention Coalition, the Coalition Against Gun Violence, and Americans for Responsible Solutions.

“From the Pulse nightclub shooting to the sickening protest in Charlottesville, our nation has seen tragedy unfold when hatred and bigotry are emboldened,” said former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “It gives me hope to see states, like California, not only recognize the realities of hatred in our society, but actively work to make it harder for dangerous people fueled by hate-filled intentions to access firearms and commit crimes.”

Other measures signed by Brown include bans on the last narrow allowances for campus carry and open carry in the state, and a bill ordering the California Department of Justice to funnel data to the state’s new gun violence research center. Brown rejected a proposal setting higher security standards for gun stores.

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