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LAWS CONSIDERED TO SEPARATE GUNS AND DOMESTIC ABUSERS

Like many places in America, Washington is no stranger to domestic violence. Now legislation is being considered at the federal level that would affect convicted abusers and their ability to procure a firearm. There are many proponents of this legislation and wide popular support for these reforms.

Unmistakable links between domestic violence, firearms and homicide have been demonstrated. Over 60 percent of all American women killed with a firearm were murdered during a domestic violence incident. The statistical likelihood of a homicide during a domestic violence incident increases significantly when there is a gun present. These correlations are cause for a wide group of Americans to advocate legal reforms to remove firearms from the presence of known abusers.

One bill that has been considered by Congress is the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. This legislation would strengthen background checks so that stalkers and abusers would not be able to procure firearms as easily. This reform has widespread popular support, with two-thirds of all voters surveyed stating that they would endorse a law that restricts the access to firearms that a convicted perpetrator of domestic violence would have when they are in a non-married dating relationship.

Domestic abuse, especially violence involving guns, falls disproportionately upon women, and these proposed laws may have a similar effect in saving lives. Anyone who is in a relationship with a person with a propensity towards domestic violence, whether they are married or not, might be wise to consider their safety and reconsider the presence of firearms. The assistance of an attorney can be helpful when filing restraining orders or taking other legal action to protect oneself from domestic violence.

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