Protecting domestic violence survivors from gun violence
7/31/2014, 10:46 a.m.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) to introduce the Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act of 2014, legislation that would encourage states to remove firearms from domestic abusers.
The senators recently presented their bill at a press conference where they were joined by Merry Jackson, whose daughter Lori Jackson was shot and killed this year by her estranged husband, who was under a temporary restraining order at the time. Kaine shared the story of Deborah Wigg, a Virginia Beach resident who was tragically shot and killed in 2011 by her separated husband, who, despite being arrested and issued a restraining order for domestic violence against Deborah, never had his gun confiscated as federal law requires.
“I’m proud to help introduce the Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act of 2014 in the Senate,” said Kaine. “Domestic violence fatalities are far too common in Virginia, and they are often at the hands of gun violence. By focusing on individuals already subject to a temporary or domestic violence restraining order, this commonsense legislation provides critical protection to abuse victims, especially women, who are five times more likely to be killed by their domestic abuser if the abuser owns a gun.”
The bill would grant incentives to states that match or exceed current federal domestic violence gun prohibitions and enforce these vital gun protection laws by seizing firearms when adjudicating or responding to domestic violence situations.
“When domestic abusers are most dangerous – at the height of their rage – current law is weakest in protecting victims like Lori Jackson from gun violence,” said Blumenthal. When a survivor makes the brave decision to leave his or her abuser and seek help from law enforcement and our courts, our system must do everything possible to protect their safety and the safety of their children. This legislation provides the resources necessary to protect survivors of domestic abuse and remove guns from dangerous situations where lives are literally on the line.”
The Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act of 2014 is sponsored by Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) and co-sponsored by Senators Kaine (D-VA), Murphy (D-CT), Schatz (D-HI), Gillibrand (D-NY), Levin (D-MI), Durbin (D-IL), and Warren (D-MA). The legislation is similar to H.R. 3566, the Domestic Violence Criminal Disarmament Act, legislation from Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) that was introduced in the House last summer and has been widely endorsed by domestic violence advocates.