This Is the First Gun Control Bill Introduced After the Orlando Shooting

The legislation, from Sen. Bob Casey, limits gun access for people convicted of hate crimes.

Participants in a candlelight vigil outside of the White House kiss to show their solidarity with the victims of Sunday's Orlando shooting. Manuel Balce Ceneta /AP

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One day after the deadliest mass shooting in American history killed at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced legislation that would bar people convicted of hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms.

Casey announced the Hate Crimes Prevention Act at a press conference in Pittsburgh this afternoon. He indicated that Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, targeted people at the Pulse nightclub because of their sexual orientation. Mateen’s father has said Mateen was once angered by a public display of affection by two men.

“We have to make sure that we’re focused on the connection between hate crimes and violence, and the connection between hate crimes and acts of terror or violence against individual communities,” Casey said. “In Orlando, he was targeting people based on who they were and who they loved, and that has to be a focus of our work as well.”

Casey first indicated his plans for the legislation yesterday when he reacted to the Orlando shooting with a series of tweets:

Casey’s office also released a statement about the Orlando shooting, reiterating much of what was written in his tweets.

Casey’s comments on the Orlando shooting stand in stark contrast to those made by Republican politicians, who have focused on possible terrorist connections between Mateen and ISIS. Earlier today, President Barack Obama told reporters that there was no indication that Mateen was connected to a larger terrorist network.

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) in February. The House never voted on the bill.

This post has been updated to include information about the House version of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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