Today marks the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence have focused on educating policy makers and the public about the deadly mix of domestic violence and firearms, and policy solutions that can be enacted to address this issue and save lives. These efforts culminated last week at a Congressional fied hearing where leaders of both organizations testified about the scope of the public health epidemic caused by guns.
Earlier in October, NCADV announced, in partnership with the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV), the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Foundation, and Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV), the creation of the first comprehensive website about domestic violence protective order enforcements and firearm surrender. The DisarmDV website, to launch in September 2018, will be a user-friendly, first-of-its-kind tool to compare firearm removal laws between states. “This website and the tools it offers will be instrumental in assisting those who must respond quickly and appropriately to ensure victims’ and survivors’ safety. Helping others understand how to proceed in the safe and expedient removal of firearms and identification of best practices will save lives,” said Ruth Glenn, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The Brady Campaign and Center released a new report this month, which shines a light on the tragic implications of what happens when domestic abusers have access to firearms. The report outlines troubling loopholes in the current Brady background check system that allow stalkers and certain individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors to purchase and use guns to threaten, injure, and kill victims of abuse, and how we can work together at the state and federal level to close them. Brady Campaign Co-President, Kris Brown, said upon the report’s release, “This year alone, over 500 people have been killed during a domestic violence incident using a gun. That is tragic and unacceptable, but not inevitable. We know what must be done to close the dangerous loopholes in our system and strengthen Brady background checks so that we keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. It’s time to get to work to do exactly that.”
The forum, hosted by the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee, brought together congressional, academic and advocacy leaders including Kris Brown from the Brady Campaign and Ruth M. Glenn, NCADV Executive Director, who had this to say about the issue,“We can make a difference if we treat the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence like the public health crisis it is and put resources and federal funding into research of causes and prevention. Our nation must take a stand and work to ensure safety for women, children and others in the future.”