LOS ANGELES – Focusing on the dangers posed by guns in domestic violence incidents--including a 500% increase in the risk the victim of abuse will be killed--today many of the nation's leading prosecutors joined with experts in gun violence and public health to call for a major change in federal law and sweeping improvements across the country aimed at removing guns from domestic abusers.
In an extensive report analyzing laws, judicial practices, prosecutorial approaches and law enforcement protocols throughout America, Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV) and the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearms Policy recommended significant changes to break the link between domestic violence and gun violence.
The report’s principal recommendation is that: Federal law should be changed to prohibit purchase and possession of firearms by persons subject to temporary domestic violence restraining orders.
Moreover, prosecutors, law enforcement and courts should develop protocols for:
• Identifying domestic abusers with firearm(s);
• Ensuringing these individuals relinquish their firearm(s) once subject to a domestic violence restraining order;
• Ensuring the firearm(s) are not returned without a subsequent background check;
• Ensuring accountability when the prohibited person fails to comply with the relinquishment order.
“Guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, PAGV co-chair. “This report is a national call to action to prevent deadly domestic violence incidents through practical, data-driven solutions.”
“When an abusive partner is permitted access to firearms, the risk that the other partner – usually a woman – will be killed increases more than fivefold,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., PAGV co-chair. “Restricting abusers’ access to firearms is a proven and effective means to reduce domestic violence homicides. Today’s report shines a light on local successes and dangerous gaps in the law.”
“Making sure that firearms are removed from domestic abusers will go a long way towards reducing gun violence in America,” said Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. “This report provides actionable steps so that judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers have the tools necessary to accomplish this important goal.”
“It is time for everyone, including members of Congress and members of the gun lobby, to accept the facts – guns in the home do not make you safer and, in fact, increase the risk of gun violence and death particularly in families where domestic violence is present,” said Margot Bennett, Executive Director, Women Against Gun Violence
"I applaud Prosecutors Against Gun Violence for this important report and for pushing nationally what works so well here in California," said TuLynn Smylie, Administrative Director, Center for the Pacific Asian Family.
When an abusive partner has access to a firearm, the risk of the other partner being killed increases five times. According to studies, restricting abusers access to firearms is an effective policy, reducing domestic violence homicides as much as 25%.
The release of the report follows PAGV’s Domestic Violence and Gun Violence Summit held in Portland in October, 2015. The summit focused on the connection between incidents of domestic violence and gun violence, as well as effective, practical solutions. Prior PAGV summits were held in Atlanta and Miami.
PAGV was launched in September, 2014, by co-chairs Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. and has grown to include 37 leading prosecutors from every region of the country. The non-partisan coalition identifies and promotes prosecutorial and policy solutions to the national public health and safety crisis of gun violence.
The Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy was formed in March, 2014, and includes the nation’s leading researchers, practitioners, and advocates in gun violence prevention and mental health. The Consortium offers policy recommendations informed by the best available research that are meaningful for the victims and families affected by gun violence, and respectful of individuals with mental illness and their care providers.