House Republicans and several Democrats voted to pass a bill Wednesday that would hamper recent state efforts to curb domestic abusers’ access to guns.
“There has been a strong push in recent years for more legislation at the state level to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking,” said Kim Gandy, president of National Network to End Domestic Violence.
“We know some victims flee intentionally to states with stronger gun laws, victims who have a specific fear of homicide, and this allows an abuser to get a permit online or by mail from a state with lax requirements and then all of her efforts to seek protection from gun homicides will be for naught,” she said.
The research on how guns enhance the likelihood of severe violence and homicide of domestic violence victims is well-established. Domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be murdered if an abuser has access to a firearm, and there are collateral victims, including children and the domestic violence victim’s new partner.
“It just seems like sheer insanity to go backwards instead of forwards in terms of making victims of domestic violence safer,” said Julie Owens, an expert consultant on domestic violence matters who has worked with the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center.