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Tell Congress: Pass the Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act

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Tell Congress:

“Domestic abusers should not have guns. Pass the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act.”

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    Tell Congress: Pass the Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act

    The recent 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.

    The Rancho Tehama 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, TX. 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.

    Thank you for standing up against gun violence today.

    References:

    1. Addy Baird, "The Northern California shooter had a documented history of abusing women," ThinkProgress, Nov. 15, 2017.
    2. Ray Sanchez, Jason Hanna and Phil Gast, "Gunman in Northern California rampage was not supposed to have guns," CNN, Nov. 15, 2017.
    3. Everytown for Gun Safety, "Guns and Violence Against Women," accessed Nov. 16, 2017.
    4. Media Matters for America, "If media don't point out the clear connection between domestic abuse and mass shootings, they're not doing their job," Nov. 6, 2017.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Casey Quinlan, "The shooting of 9 people in Texas fits into a disturbing pattern," ThinkProgress, Sept. 13, 2017.
    7. Media Matters for America, "If media don't point out the clear connection between domestic abuse and mass shootings, they're not doing their job."
    8. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Domestic Abusers Are Barred From Gun Ownership, but Often Escape the Law," The New York Times, Nov. 6, 2017.
    9. Ibid.