Congressman Eric Swalwell, who represents the Valley’s 15th District, has reintroduced his earlier bill to help protect domestic violence victims from being murdered with guns.
The bill, HR 1287, the “No Guns for Abusers Act” would require the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to report to Congress on the best practices that jurisdictions should use to require anyone charged with or convicted of a domestic violence crime, or subject to a domestic violence protective order, to relinquish all their firearms.
The NIJ is the research, development and evaluation agency of the federal Department of Justice.
The bill’s original 22 cosponsors are all Democrats. They include Congressman Jerry McNerney, a former Pleasanton resident, whose district once included Pleasanton and Dublin; South Bay Congressman Ro Khanna of Fremont; and Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts.
“With a woman killed every day, on average, by an abuser’s gun, it’s common sense that we do more to make sure domestic abusers don’t have firearms,” Swalwell asserted in a news release.
“Developing best practices to seize guns from abusers means better enforcement of the laws we already have, and that leads to saving lives,” continued Swalwell.
One study found that a woman’s risk of femicide (the killing of women) increases by a factor of five if the abuser has access to a firearm. The study was conducted in 11 cities in 2003, and published in the American Journal of Public Health at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10683686_Risk_Factors_for_Femicide_in_Abusive_Relationships_Results_From_a_Multisite_Case_Control_Study.
Information carried on The Trace website, a nonprofit dedicated to reporting on gun violence, brought out that 95% of police officers who were killed while responding to domestic disputes were killed with firearms.
According to The Trace, if federal law bars convicted domestic abusers from gun ownership, but state laws do not provide matching legislation, local authorities often have no effective way of disarming those found or alleged to have harmed a partner. Only a small number of states have adopted such laws.
Although many people think that the term “mass shooting” is applied only to the massacre of civilians in big numbers — 17 at Parkland Fla., 20 students and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and 58 killed and 400 wounded at an outdoor concert at a Las Vegas hotel, the killing of a woman and her children by an abuser is also a mass shooting, reports The Trace.
The site quotes the story of a woman who told friends on Facebook that she was finally leaving her abusive husband. Afterwards, he shot her dead, along with her three children, then killed himself with a handgun, the weapon of choice for most abusers who kill their romantic partners or spouses.
In other instances, abusers kill spouses, but also in-laws, parents and innocent bystanders who happen to be at the murder scene.
A study of deaths over a six year period found that in 57% of shootings that resulted in the death of at least four people by gunfire, the attacker killed a family member or a romantic partner.