The two legislators are committed to reducing
gun violence with an intersectional lens
Senator Lori Berman and Representative Anna V. Eskamani today sponsored the Gun Safety for Women Act, legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world for gun violence against women. Women here are 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries.
Federal gun laws already protect women from domestic abusers by prohibiting gun possession for people convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” or subject to a final domestic violence restraining order. But dangerous gaps and weaknesses in the system remain at the state level. SB1206/HB941 will close those gaps by requiring a person convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence to surrender (when convicted) all firearms and ammunition in his or her possession to law enforcement.
“Guns pose a grave and imminent threat to the safety and well-being of countless women and families,” said Senator Berman. “Insufficient and weak gun laws on both the state and federal levels are at the heart of the problem with gun violence against women in our country, and SB1206/HB941 will work to strengthen these laws, keeping women and families more safe.”
Using F.B.I. data and other publicly available information, Every town analyzed mass shootings in the United States that occurred from 2009 to 2016, defining a mass shooting as one in which four or more people were shot and killed, not including the shooter. Of 156 shootings that fit that category, 54 percent were “related to domestic or family violence,” the analysis found.
“Experts who investigate mass shootings say a history of domestic violence is often a missed clue,” added Representative Eskamani. “We have seen more than one case in Florida where a mass shooter has had a history of domestic violence. The lives of Floridians — and especially women’s lives — are on the line, and we are going to keep fighting for their safety.”
In 35 states, state law does not prohibit all people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and all people subject to restraining orders from buying or using guns. So while domestic abusers in those states cannot possess guns under federal law, local law enforcement and prosecutors do not have the tools they need to enforce those restrictions. These loopholes are major contributors to the deadly relationship between domestic violence and guns, as original research by Everytown shows:
- American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in any other developed country.
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be murdered.
- More than half of women murdered with guns in the U.S. in 2010 — at least 54 percent — were killed by intimate partners or family members.
- Over the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides in the U.S. have been committed with guns than with all other weapons combined.
- And the latest research by Everytown for Gun Safety establishes that this is also true for mass shootings: an analysis of every mass shooting in the U.S. between January 2009 and June 2014 determined that in 57 percent (61 of 107 incidents), the shooter killed an intimate partner or family member.