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

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.


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.