Guns and Domestic Violence
April 22, 2013
Dear Readers I want to thank Sheryl McCabe who helps me in researching and writing my blog posts…Thank you Sheryl…
Guns and Domestic Violence
As we all know 46 U.S. senators voted against the bipartisan plan to have background checks for gun sales. That kills a bill that 80 - 90 percent of Americans supported (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/17/us-usa-guns-idUSBRE93F00D20130417). “All in all, this is a pretty shameful day in Washington,” President Barack Obama said - And it is. Something as simple as a background checks—something we do with credit cards and even to become employed—was shot down. In my opinion the bill barely scratched the surface of our firearm problem.
Although the bill would have provided an extra barrier to prevent dangerous people from acquiring firearms and ban assault weapons, domestic violence victims/survivors need more than what this bill offered - They need surrender laws. At this time, abusers with certain restraining orders against them, or convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors, are prohibited from being able to purchase or possess guns (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/malika-saada-saar/gun-violence-and-domestic-violence_b_3039071.html). The National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS), the federal entity responsible for background on gun shoppers, has stopped more than 2 million potential gun sales to banned purchasers. That’s a good thing…The problem is an abuser can still purchase a gun from unlicensed, private sellers. Like at a gun show or simply using an online site like Armslist.com.
Surrender laws remove guns temporarily from someone with a protective order against them. Surrender laws are a proactive move to protect those being abused or otherwise targeted for violence. According to a recent study by the Violence Policy Center (VPC), “female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined“ (http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2012.pdf).
Guns, just being in the home, endanger people around them. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) reports, “Firearms in the household increase the odds of lethal versus nonlethal violence by a factor of 6.1 to 1. – That’s Huge! Women who were previously threatened or assaulted with a firearm or other weapon are 20 times more likely to be murdered by their abuser than are other women.” This means that the cards are stacked against women when guns are in the household.
The NIJ recommends to law enforcement and judicial officials “if we are to prevent lethal violence- abusers need to be disarmed and we must keep them disarmed” - Except, this doesn’t happen. Many states have no versions of surrender laws and judges rarely use their power to remove firearms (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/us/facing-protective-orders-and-allowed-to-keep-guns.html?_r=0).
If we have a right to protect ourselves, shouldn’t we have a right to be protected? Not just for domestic violence victims, but for everyone. We need laws to protect us from those who wish us harm. That shouldn’t be so much to ask for.