More than half of mass shootings committed in the United States are incidents of domestic violence. Every month, 48 American women are shot and killed by current or former intimate partners.
Despite these startling facts, many states, including Virginia, do not have strong laws in place to prevent domestic abusers from easily getting their hands on a gun. In February, Virginia’s General Assembly rejected legislation that would have prevented anyone convicted of stalking, sexual battery or physical assault of a family member from having a gun for a period of five years. When legislators get back to work, they should put politics and special interests aside and pass this much-needed legislation.
This is the type of incident that the February legislation could have prevented
. This is exactly why Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will be fighting this fall to get the legislature to protect all Virginia families.
And even the National Rifle Association (NRA) knows that there’s more to do here.
If the NRA can see the sense in keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers with a restraining order against them, why can’t Virginia lawmakers?
Philip Van Cleave
, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which opposed the domestic violence legislation in February, suggested that women who are at risk of domestic violence should “either get away from him or buy her own gun.”
We know that neither of those suggestions is a practical — or responsible — solution. When a woman gets a restraining order against a former intimate partner, she is clearly making every effort to “get away from him.” When a woman buys her own gun for protection
against a possible domestic violence attack, her chances of dying by a gun go up drastically
. Women involved in domestic disputes are almost 10 times more likely to have a gun used against them than to use a gun in self-defense.
Virginia does not need more gun extremists telling women what to do
. Virginia needs legislators to enact stronger laws that do more to keep guns away from abusers and act in the interest of children and families in this state.