“Domestic abusers should not have guns. Pass the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act.”
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Last week’s mass shooting in Rancho Tehama, California was just the latest reminder that domestic violence, misogyny and guns are a deadly combination. The gunman had a history of violence against women.1 Reports indicate that the murder of his wife may have been what prompted the deadly rampage that included killing a female neighbor who obtained a restraining order against him earlier this year and firing a semi-automatic weapon into a school.2
The statistics on the links between domestic violence and gun violence are chilling. Fifty-four percent of mass shootings are connected to domestic or family violence. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that domestic abuse will turn into murder. And people with a history of committing domestic violence are more likely to subsequently kill an intimate partner.3
Today, loopholes in current gun laws allow some domestic abusers to keep their guns. The Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act would close them. It is time for Congress to pass it.
Tell Congress: Domestic abusers should not have guns. Pass the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act. Click here to sign the petition.
Last week’s massacre was preceded by a long list of others where domestic violence was a key part of a mass tragedy.4 The man who killed 25 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas earlier this month was jailed for assaulting his wife and child.5 In September, a man killed his wife and eight others in Plano, Texas. She had left him days earlier because of abuse 6 The man who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016 allegedly beat his ex-wife, took her paycheck and isolated her in their home.7 And behind the spotlight of these mass shootings are the daily incidents where gun violence makes domestic violence more dangerous and more deadly.
Current gun laws prohibit gun ownership by an intimate partner who is convicted of domestic abuse, but the definition of intimate partner is narrowly defined and excludes people who have not been married, lived together or had a child.8 The Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act would close this so-called “boyfriend” loophole by adding dating partners to the definition of intimate partner. It would also prohibit convicted stalkers from buying or possessing guns.9
These changes will not close all the loopholes that help arm domestic abusers but they will close big ones, and they will save lives. But the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has most congressional Republicans in its pocket, is against even this kind of commonsense bill to protect survivors of domestic violence. We need to remind our representatives that, in the face of our gun violence epidemic, their constituents are demanding more than blind allegiance to the NRA.
Tell Congress: Domestic abusers should not have guns. Pass the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Heidi Hess
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Why do we wait until there is a mass shooting to even consider closing the loopholes allowing domestic abusers access to guns? What about the 50 AMERICAN WOMEN WHO DIE EACH MONTH at the hand of their partner or previous partners?
*Arizona citizens: note the bill Senator Flake is sponsoring. (Information below.)
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If you are contacting Senator Flake, it might be helpful to know his position on this issue. Sens. Jeff Flake and Martin Heinrich recently introduced bipartisan legislation that will close the background check loophole exploited by the Sutherland Springs,Texas shooter and ensure that any individual convicted of domestic violence whether in criminal or military court cannot legally purchase a firearm.that he is called the Domestic Violence Loophole Closure Act.
The killer, Devin Kelley, had been court-martialed, convicted and served time in prison for viciously assaulting his wife and baby stepson, fracturing the baby’s skull.
Under current law, Kelley's history of domestic violence should have prevented him from buying firearms. But the Air Force did not report his conviction to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
This is not unusual. The most current data from 2016 shows the Department of Defense “has reported only one misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to the federal background check database since 2007, according to a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis from Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake and Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
The reason is simple: There is no specific charge of domestic violence in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Such crimes are charged as general assault.
Clearly, the law needs this 'clarification.' The solution is simple, tooIt’s called the Domestic Violence Loophole Closure Act.
*You can tell Senator Flake that you appreciate him introducing the Domestic Violence Loophole Closure Act, but this needs to go beyond the military. Tell him to also vote in favor for the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act to close the loopholes in the gun laws that allow domestic abusers to keep their guns.
Contact Sen. Flake: