FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 12, 2017

Contact: Sean Simons, sean@responsiblesolutions.org, 215.778.1411

STATEMENT: Gabby Giffords, Domestic Violence Prevention Leaders Applaud Reintroduction Of Bipartisan Proposal To Protect Women From Abusers & Stalkers With Guns

WASHINGTON, DC – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), and members of the Women’s Coalition for Common Sense today applauded the reintroduction of a bipartisan proposal, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act in the U.S. Senate, that protects victims of domestic violence and stalking by helping keep guns out of the hands of abusers and convicted stalkers.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“Guns and domestic violence are a deadly, tragic mix. Every 16 hours a woman is fatally shot in our country by an ex-spouse or intimate partner. As a nation, we should be outraged. This bill won’t stop every act of violence, but it does represent a major step forward that will help make women and their families safer. I applaud Senator Klobuchar, Congresswoman Dingell and Congressman Donovan for putting politics aside and introducing a bipartisan proposal. I urge my former colleagues in Congress to support this responsible legislation to help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and make our country a safer place to live.”

Kim Gandy, President & CEO, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and Advisory Committee member of the Women’s Coalition for Common Sense:

“We applaud the reintroduction of this important bill. While federal law prohibits some perpetrators from keeping their firearms, dangerous loopholes still allow convicted stalkers and dating violence abusers to purchase firearms. Representatives Dingell and Donovan aim to close these loopholes, which would save countless lives.”

Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Advisory Committee member of the Women’s Coalition for Common Sense:

“In a survey conducted by The Hotline, 22 percent of participants said their abusive partner had threatened to use a firearm, and 67 percent believed their partner was capable of killing them. It’s clear that our nation’s leaders need to do more to help protect victims of domestic violence and their families, and that’s exactly what this commonsense bill will do. I want to thank Senator Klobuchar, Congresswoman Dingell and Congressman Donovan for their leadership on this life-saving bill.”

Ruth Glenn, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Executive Director, and Advisory Committee member of the Women’s Coalition for Common Sense:

“Female victims of domestic violence are five times more likely to be killed by a current or former abusive partner when the perpetrator of violence has access to a firearm. This commonsense bill will not only help keep guns out of the hands of abusers and convicted stalkers, it will help save lives. I hope our leaders in Congress will listen to the many domestic violence survivors, advocates and public safety officials who are urging Washington to do more to protect women from violence and pass this bill.”

About the House-introduced Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act and the Senate-introduced Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act

The legislation makes two commonsense changes to federal law that currently make it easy for perpetrators of dating violence and those convicted of misdemeanor stalking to legally access guns. The bill would:

  1. Close the Loophole That Lets Perpetrators of Dating Violence Access Guns: Current federal law prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses from accessing firearms (including individuals who are a current or former spouse, parent, parent of a child in common, current or former cohabitant, or a personal similarly situated to a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim). But current federal law does not include perpetrators who abused current or former dating partners. With more unmarried people in non-cohabitating dating relationships, this gap leaves a significant number of abusers free to access firearms.
  2. Close the Loophole That Lets Some Convicted Stalkers Access Guns: Under current federal law, individuals convicted of felony stalking offenses are prohibited from accessing guns. But individuals convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses are not prohibited. With many first-time felony offenses plead down to misdemeanor charges, and with stalking being a strong precursor to escalating violence, this legislation closes this gap in federal law, so that all individuals convicted of stalking offenses are prohibited from access firearms.
     

 

Background On The Nexus Of Domestic Violence, Dating Partner Abuse, Stalking And Access To Firearms

  • Women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. [National Domestic Violence Hotline]
  • Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm. [American Journal of Public Health]
  • Domestic violence assaults involving a gun are twelve times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force. [Saltzman, Jun. 1992]
  • In 2011, over half of women killed with guns were killed by their intimate partners or family members. [U.S. Department of Justice]
  • Sixty-six percent of female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former intimate partner. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, Jan. 2009]
  • 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. [McFarlane, Nov. 1999]
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