The deadly mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival on October 1st is yet another tragic reminder of the terrible toll taken by gun violence in the United States. Far less likely to make the headlines are the injuries and deaths that arise from the use of guns in acts of domestic violence.
October marks Domestic Violence Awareness month. Will you join us in calling for common-sense measures to protect survivors of domestic violence from the likelihood of gun violence?
Earlier this year, in a bipartisan effort to address gun violence, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act and the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act act were reintroduced in the House and Senate respectively.
The legislation closes two existing loopholes in federal law:
- The dating violence loophole: Current law prohibits individuals accused of domestic violence offenses against a current or former spouse, parent, or a similarly situated person from accessing firearms, but does not include perpetrators who abused current or former dating partners.
- The stalking loophole: Under existing law, individuals convicted of felony stalking offenses are prohibited from accessing guns. But individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses are not
Why does this matter?
- Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.
- Two out of three female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
- One study of female murder victims in 10 cities found that 76 percent of women murdered and 85 percent who survived a murder attempt by a current or former intimate partner experienced stalking in the year preceding the murder.
As people of faith, we are called to affirm the image of God in all of people by standing against violence. We know that death and injury from gun violence can be reduced and doing so is a moral imperative. Contact Congress and urge them to resist the greed, complacency and partisanship that keep us from enacting reasonable gun violence prevention measures that will make our communities safer. Urge them to support bipartisan legislation to close the loopholes in existing laws that allow perpetrators of domestic violence to access guns.