A Must-Read Report On Guns And Domestic Violence.

Two new GVP organizations, Prosecutors Against Gun Violence and The Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, have just produced a new report that deserves the widest possible distribution and discussion.  Entitled Firearm Removal/Retrieval in Cases of Domestic Violence, the report not only highlights the degree to which gun access makes domestic violent so much more violent and deadly, but also presents case studies on removal/retrieval strategies that are currently employed in different states.

domestic              Leaving aside for a moment the report’s content, there is one other significant reason why this is such an important and valuable report.  Because for the first time we have an approach to gun violence which brings together all the major GVP stakeholders: law enforcement, legal, prosecutorial, public health, non-profit, GVP advocacy – I hope I’m not leaving anyone out.  It’s a very impressive list.

To quote the report: “Guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination.” The report cites the fact that there is a five-fold increase in deaths when either person (usually a man) in a domestic dispute has access to a gun.  If the report had given all the scholarly citations which exist to support this statement, we could spend lots of time scrolling down to get to the rest of the text.  NRA nonsense to the contrary (see below), what happens when a gun is part of an argument between domestic partners is an indisputable fact.

Guns can be taken away from persons engaged in domestic disputes either through a Court action or by law enforcement called to the scene of the dispute itself.  The fact that 32 states do not have any statutes authorizing on-scene seizures of weapons is, to my mind, a remarkable failure of government to fulfill its ‘compelling interest’ to keep communities safe. Because no matter how strong or effective a Court-ordered removal/retrieval action happens to be, there will always be some gap in time between when the dispute occurs and when a gun has to be given up.    The report notes that half the women killed by intimate partners had contact with the criminal justice system related to the dispute within one year prior to their deaths.  But when the cops show up at the front door because someone calls them and says that there’s a big fight going on in the apartment down the hall, does this type of incident, which happens all the time, count as ‘contact’ with criminal justice?  I have my doubts.

The part of the report that I find most disconcerting are the maps which show what types of removal strategies are sanctioned by state laws. Typical of state gun laws, it’s a hodge-podge of statutes, with a few states requiring gun removal after the issuance of an order, other states granting implicit removal authority, but many states making no mention of gun removals at all.  In this third group, for example, we find Texas, Missouri, Louisiana and Georgia, which just happen to be four states whose overall gun violence rates far exceed the national average.  Any chance there’s a connection?

The NRA will tell you there’s no connection at all.  In fact, in their obsessive attempts to find new markets, Gun Nation has been trying to convince women, in particular, to defend themselves with guns.  The latest screed in this respect comes from that idiotic loudmouth Dana Loesch, who has just put out another video claiming that gun control is the ‘real war against women’ because only a gun can equalize the physical differences between women and men.

I want to end with a slight editorial which in no way detracts from the value and importance of this report. I have always believed that the term ‘domestic violence’ is perhaps too narrow to really capture and understand what gun violence is all about.  Perhaps 80% of all gun homicides and assaults involve persons who knew each other and most of the perpetrators had histories of violence before the attack occurred.  Don’t we need to find some way to take the guns away from them?



2 thoughts on “A Must-Read Report On Guns And Domestic Violence.

  1. I was discussing this the other day on Raw Story, specifically about changing Domestic Abuse Laws to the extent where they mattered, serious, and involved real penalties. I was wondering if women/men would be more likely to leave if they knew the Justice System had their back. I lived for a while young in a very violent home w/my sister and later tried my hand w/a few bad boys. So I know first hand of what I speak. I was shot at by mom’s ex man when she left one of the times. Long story. My sister almost took the bullet.
    Any who I don’t think people realize how flawed our judicial system is towards the abused is. I received an answer by one woman who was told by the police that she had self inflicted the bruises on her body. We saw what happened to the Black mother who shot off warning shots when her ex approached her. Remember she was given 20yrs, it was later reduced. 2A zealots like Dana, 3%’s, etc think just shoot the abuser. They never say hey by the way it’s not that easy to do, and even better it’s harder to win the case in court for self defense. Our prisons are full of women who have killed their abusers, many of course are POC. There are judges who refuse to give restraining orders because they don’t see bruises, or they by into the woman is lying etc.
    What really angers me is that we’ve tried w/the LoriJackson Bill by Blumenthal to close the VAWA loopholes federally, I watched the proceedings and again it was tabled. Even a Sheriff from Racine County WI Christopher was for the Bill. He knows the dangers to the abused and to his officers. As far as I’m concerned once a restraining order is issued guns are gone. No 2 weeks respite because those 2 weeks are the most dangerous.
    I’d like to see Domestic abuse treated much like we treat pedophilia. Serial abusers do not change, rarely I’ll say. They should be listed so public can look them up, they should have to report when they move. This isn’t just an adult issue. Watching, knowing when our house was going to explode, hearing my mom scream rape can fuck a child up. I know I have PTSD because of this. I am 50 and have been married to a wonderful human for 25 years. I’ve had one mental breakdown and one failed suicide attempt in those 25 years. I finally sought help. I will also say he never beat her when there was a bong on the table, a pint in the back pocket was always bad sign. Thanks, embracemaddness.

  2. This issue hits home for me. My aunt was killed by an ex boyfriend who was stalker her. She entered into a new relationship and her ex boyfriend shot and killed her and her new boyfriend and then himself. I won’t mention her name since she was a public person involved in politics and the details were never made public. This is not the only example in my family. My father had a great uncle that was shot and killed by his wife because she thought he was cheating on her.
    This is an issue that should have national laws. This is just common sense gun legislation. I have also lost friends to guns like famous trumpet player Danny Styles who got drunk and his wife kicked him out of the house. In his drunken state he gut his gun out of his car and knelt down in his front yard while his wife was watching inside from the window, and shot himself. He had a long history of domestic problems and alcohol. He was the last person that should have a gun!
    A comment on your editorial comment: I have never known anyone or know anyone who knew anyone who was killed by a stranger with a gun!

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