Over at Al Jazeera, I’m writing about the NRA’s advocacy for men who have been convicted of domestic violence or have DV orders of protection out against them. Congress passed laws in the 1990s barring people with a DV misdemeanor from owning guns, and requiring that anyone with a full (not temporary) domestic violence order of protection against them has to surrender their guns. It’s a common-sense law: The most dangerous time for DV victims is when they leave their abusers, which often coincides with the granting of an order of protection. Many states followed suit, and passed similar laws. Some didn’t. The federal law isn’t used very often, so it’s largely state law that determines whether or not abusers have to surrender their guns. The NRA has fought hard for the rights of abusers to keep their weapons. The result, in many states, has been that people get killed. From the piece:
Forty percent of women who are murdered in the US are killed by intimate partners. Guns are the cause of more than two-thirds of those domestic violence homicides, killing more victims than all other weapons combined. When an abuser has access to firearms, his victim is eight times more likely to be killed by him. The simple presence of a gun in the home makes any woman 2.7 times more likely to be murdered. And an abuse victim having access to a gun does not make her any less to be killed by her partner.
Contrary to the NRA’s arguments about women and guns, guns do not protect women or keep us safe. They are used by abusers to kill us. Nonetheless, the NRA has fought back against legislation that mandates the removal of guns in domestic violence disputes.
Apparently, the right of an abuser to own a gun trumps the right of a victim to walk away with her life.
The NRA has knocked down many of the laws and policies that prevent women from being killed by their abusers. A New York Times expose shows that in states like Washington, where the NRA has succeeded in removing laws that protect victims of violence, society suffers. Washington state no longer seizes guns when a domestic violence order of protection is granted. In that state, “The New York Times identified scores of gun-related crimes committed by people subject to recently issued civil protection orders, including murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.” At least five of the murder victims in the past decade were women who had taken out orders of protection less than a month earlier.
Contrast that to areas where domestic violence protective order surrender laws are in place and enforced, like San Mateo County in California: they have not had a firearms-related domestic violence murder in three years.
The full piece is here.
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