Justice

This Politician Got Personal About Who We Should Prevent From Buying Guns

June 23rd 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Late into Wednesday night's House sit-in over gun control, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) made a powerful statement. She shared her chilling experience about growing up with an abusive father who owned a gun.

"I lived in a house with a man that should not have had access to a gun," she said. "I know what it’s like to see a gun pointed at you. And wonder if you are going to live. And I know what it’s like to hide in a closet and pray to God, 'Do not let anything happen to me.'”

During the sit-in — which was aimed at forcing a vote on two gun control measures — Dingell argued that Congress also needed to work to prevent domestic abusers from getting guns.

"And we don’t talk about it, we don’t want to say that it happens in all kinds of households, and we still live in a society where we will let a convicted felon who was stalking somebody of domestic abuse, still own a gun," she explained.

Gun violence is a domestic violence issue.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports:

  • Women in the U.S. are 11x more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries
  • Female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined
  • The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%
  • In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners

The Violence Policy Center reported that in 2013, “for homicides in which the victim-to-offender relationship could be identified, 94 percent of female victims (1,438 out of 1,530) were murdered by a male they knew.” For victims who knew their killers, 62 percent "were wives or intimate acquaintances," while 280 of them were shot and killed during an argument with a husband or intimate acquaintance.

“Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon could be determined (1,477), more female homicides were committed with firearms (53 percent) than with any other weapon,” the report continues.

In July 2015, Dingell proposed a bill that would prohibit convicted stalkers from purchasing guns. Research has found strong links between stalking and domestic violence — "between 50 percent and 60 percent of partner violence victims report ever being stalked by that partner," according to the National Institute of Justice. The measure ultimately failed in Congress.

[h/t Jezebel]