On Saturday morning, news broke of a shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha synagogue in a Pittsburgh neighborhood. At this time, it’s understood that at least twelve people were shot, including three police officers. While details are still emerging, it’s being reported that at least 10 people are dead. The shooter, who is now in custody, reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” before opening fire. The shooting is currently being investigated as a hate crime.
Research shows hate crimes are on the rise. In an average year, more than 10,300 hate crimes involve a firearm — more than 28 each day. In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, over 20 percent of these crimes were motivated by bias against religion ― 54 percent of these specifically had an anti-Jewish bias. Just this week, two Black Americans were shot and killed at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky, after the shooter attempted to enter a predominantly Black church nearby.
Currently, there is no federal law prohibiting criminals convicted of violent or threatening misdemeanor hate crimes from buying or having guns.
With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, it’s up to us to elect lawmakers who will put public safety first and address gun violence with common sense solutions that will save lives. We will continue to monitor this situation. If you have any questions regarding this shooting or others like it, don’t hesitate to reach out and we can connect you with policy experts.