NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch is either woefully ignorant or doesn’t mind spreading falsehoods when they suit her narrative. That’s exactly what she did in response to a recently introduced measure that would bar anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor hate crime from obtaining a gun.
Differing versions of The Disarm Hate Act, introduced in May in the House and the Senate by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) makes it illegal for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime to buy a gun, Media Matters for America reports.
So what is a misdemeanor hate crime, as defined by the measure?
It defines a misdemeanor hate crime as one that’s a misdemeanor under federal, state or tribal law that is fueled 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.” The bill further states a crime can be considered a hate crime if it “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.”
According to current law, individuals convicted of these crimes can legally purchase a firearm in many states.
But Loesch incorrectly stated that this law would somehow treat misdemeanors like felonies and added it would create a “new classification of a felony.”
But all the law does is expand the list that prohibits gun possession.
And there are some cases in which misdemeanor convictions already prohibit firearms purchases under federal law. Under current law, individuals convicted of domestic violence are barred from purchasing guns. In fact, there’s a number of circumstances in which laws barring individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors have been upheld by courts. That makes Loesch’s claim that the Disarm Act is unconstitutional doubtful at best.
But she didn’t stop there. She’s also claiming that the proposed measure is redundant, but it’s really an expansion of current federal law and only 30 states have misdemeanor hate crime laws on the books and only six prohibit those convicted from purchasing a firearm.
Clearly, this is a law that could save lives.
But on the June 10 edition of her show Relentless, Loesch derided the idea that those convicted of a hate crime are likely to go on to commit other violent crimes. She insisted that defining hate crime isn’t necessary because “all crime is hate.”
Rather than discuss anything meaningful on the program, she and guest Salena Zito, a pro-gun activist complained about Sen. Casey. Zito said she thinks Casey is trying to “chip away at gun laws and gun control until they finally get sort of where they want.”
“And so it’s like going, it’s like a moth trying to go around into a light,” Zito said. “At some point, it finds its way into the light, sometimes.”
She trotted out the standard excuse that lawmakers are persecuting gun owners instead of criminals. This seems to be part of the National Rifle Association’s playbook.
Loesch responded she would love to see what information Casey is working from.
“I would love to see his data on that. It seems redundant,” she said. “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 people are doing every day that they don’t even realize or see that they don’t even realize are felonies.”
But the fact that the law simply extends the list of those prohibited to possess firearms seems to escape her.
“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 creating a redundancy also.”
The logic appears to be lost on Loesch and her guest. The fact is, individuals previously convicted of violent crimes are nine times likelier to commit another violent offense. They’re also nine times more likely to commit other firearms-related crimes. And researchers from the Giffords Law Center say people who commit hate crimes are “an even greater risk to public safety because” their crimes often escalate.
So on this anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, it’s a good idea to ignore Loesch and keep this fact in mind.
But, of course, the whole purpose of the NRA anymore is to serve gun manufacturers, who need people to buy guns so they can remain wealthy. They obviously don’t care who the people are who buy the guns, as long as their money spends.
Featured image courtesy of the video above