(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) joined domestic violence advocates from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) to call on Congress to pass critical legislation to prevent domestic violence homicides caused by gun violence. This week, Blumenthal and Moore re-introduced measures in the Senate and House, respectively, that would incentivize states to continue and strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence and abuse who are at risk of gun violence. Leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for a domestic violence victim, and adding the threat or use of firearms heightens the risk of fatality for a victim. 46 women are shot to death each month by a current or former partner, and perpetrators with access to firearms are 5-8 times more likely to kill their partners.
“When domestic abusers are most dangerous – at the height of their rage – adding guns into the mix places people in immediate peril,” said Senator Blumenthal. “This critical legislation empowers states to take guns out of the hands of abusers – persons convicted of domestic violence or who have used guns to threaten or harass partners or children – and save lives. When a survivor makes the brave decision to leave an abuser and seek support from law enforcement and our courts, our system must do everything possible to protect their safety and the safety of their children.”
“As we continue our national dialogue regarding how we can collectively address the rash of mass shootings in our country, we cannot overlook how pervasive gun violence is to our local communities, especially to women,” said Congresswoman Moore. “My bill — the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Act — encourages states to implement strong firearm enforcement policies and empowers law enforcement officials to remove a gun from a dangerous domestic violence situation. One of the most dangerous times for a victim of domestic violence is right after the victim tries to leave. With this critical legislation, we can help support and protect these brave survivors when they are at their most vulnerable.”
“Victims of domestic violence simply cannot wait for these important pieces of legislation. As the largest network of domestic violence service providers in the county, we at YWCA know too well how quickly a terrifying situation can escalate into a deadly one when firearms are available,” said Qudsia Raja, Advocacy and Policy Manager at YWCA USA. “We applaud Senator Blumenthal and Representative Moore for reintroducing this important legislation and sharing our commitment to end domestic violence homicides now.”
Specifically, Senator Blumenthal’s legislation, The Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Protection Act, authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to make grants to States under the existing Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Grants) mechanism. States may use funds they are awarded to assist law enforcement agencies or courts that seek to keep firearms out of the hands of people who are legally prohibited from having them, or, in adjudicating or responding to domestic violence situations, to remove guns from situations in which there is probable cause to believe they will be used for domestic violence, harassment, or threats.
You can watch the press conference in full here or below.