Weekly Feature

2018-04-12 / Editorial

New gun legislation is a smart step forward

Bee Editorial

The debate over gun legislation has been raging for several years now and particularly flares up each time a mass shooting takes place.

While these incidents are responsible for stealing the lives of many innocent people, the rate at which victims of domestic violence are murdered with guns is both staggering and woefully lacking in the national discourse.

In the United States, three or more women are murdered each day by a husband or boyfriend according to the American Psychological Association. Furthermore, greater than half of all women killed by intimate partners between 2001 to 2012 were killed with guns, according to the Center for American Progress.

A study published by the American Public Health Association in July 2003 stated that American women are killed by an intimate partner — including husbands, lovers, ex-husbands and ex-lovers — more often than by any other type of perpetrator.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, between 77 and 81 percent of female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, depending on the victim’s age bracket.

This prompts the question, why are men convicted of such violence able to get their hands on deadly weapons?

Legislation passed in New York last week will require those convicted of domestic abuse to turn over long guns, as opposed to existing legislation, which mandated only the surrender of handguns. Additionally, the legislation can prevent an individual from getting or renewing a license for a gun if that person is the subject of an arrest warrant for certain alleged crimes. It’s possible the new legislation could also prevent the mass shootings experienced by communities nationwide.

According to a report published by the Congressional Research Service in July 2015, “a domestic dispute of some sort was allegedly a contributing factor in about a fifth of mass public shootings” between 1999 and 2013, where such an event is defined as “three or more killings in a single incident.” The report goes on to say that “In some cases, offenders were able to purchase a firearm, or allowed to keep firearms already in their possession, and commit mass murder, even though they had previously had domestic violence restraining orders filed against them, or had been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses.”

This kind of legislation is the shift that needs to be made in the ongoing debate over firearms.

While people on both sides of the aisle are guilty of shouting more than listening and failing to compromise, this type of legislation targets a specific issue and combats it in a logical way.

While not every act of violence can be predicted, looking at trends and statistics can give us many solid indicators and well-thought-out legislation such as this can go a long way in protecting women who might otherwise become murder victims.

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