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Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond to Targeted Shooting of Family of Guatemalan Descent at Nebraska Home

July 3, 2024

CRETE, Neb. – Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots network, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements in response to a shooting at a Crete, Nebraska home, which resulted in four children shot and wounded, ranging from ages three to 10, and three adults also shot and wounded, ranging from ages 22 to 43. According to authorities, all the victims are of Guatemalan descent. Nebraska authorities are investigating whether the shooting was racially motivated and should be considered a hate crime. According to reports the 74-year-old shooter had previously told the family to “go back to where they came from.” 

“We are horrified by the news of this devastating incident and are praying for healing for the family and communities of the victims,” said Jen Hodge, a volunteer with the Nebraska chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Time and time again our communities are shaken by senseless acts of gun violence that have invaded what should be our safe places. Incidents like these don’t represent the values of Nebraskans. But they are a consequence of our state’s weak gun laws– laws that allow hate to be armed with a gun and to easily take someone else’s life. Our movement will not stop fighting for the values that built Nebraska and our country: freedom and equality for all, but true freedom eludes us as long as we live in fear of gun violence.”  

While details continue to unfold, the shootings highlight the continued prevalence of hate crimes in the U.S. and the importance of disarming hate. Research shows hate-fueled violence is on the rise: In an average year, over 25,000 hate crimes involve a firearm — nearly 70 a day.

Each year, nearly 5,000 Latinx people die from gun violence in the United States—an average of 14 deaths every day—and 13,300 are shot and wounded. Nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths among Latinx people in the United States are homicides, and Latinx people are twice as likely to die by gun homicide and four times as likely to be wounded by an assault with a gun as white people. 

Current laws do not adequately address the problem. While Nebraska has a law prohibiting people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing guns, over the past two years the state has introduced legislation to repeal background checks and enact a shoot first policy — these policies enable racist and extremists to have easy access to guns and foster a culture of extremism. 

And while all felonies prohibit someone from purchasing or possessing a firearm under federal law, most misdemeanors, including hate crime misdemeanors, do not. Hate crime misdemeanors can be serious, violent acts, but under federal law, a hate crime misdemeanor conviction does not prohibit someone from buying or having a gun. In addition, more than half of the states in this country that do not have laws closing this gap, meaning that in much of the country, a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime can legally pass a background check and purchase and possess a firearm. More information on hate crimes is available here

Nebraska lacks foundational gun safety laws – ranking 24th in the country for gun law strength in Everytown’s 2024 Gun Law Rankings. Last year they passed a law to repeal the requirement to obtain a permit to carry hidden, loaded firearms in public as well as a law to prevent localities from enacting their own gun safety policies in the state.  More information about gun violence in Nebraska is available here

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