Gabby Giffords Asks Senate to Hold Hearing on Preventing Gun Violence Against Women

Congresswoman Giffords Delivers Petition to Senate Judiciary Committee Signed By More Than 37,000 Americans

Former Congresswoman and Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions Gabrielle Giffords today delivered a petition signed by more than 37,000 Americans to the Senate Judiciary Committee requesting a hearing on preventing gun violence against women.

“Congressional action has meant the difference between life and death for many women. But many of those who perpetrate violence against women are still allowed easy access to firearms,” wrote Congresswoman Giffords in her letter. “More action is needed – and soon. Women’s lives are at stake. We know more about the dangerous connection between domestic abuse and guns than we ever have. Let’s leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting women and their families.”

The majority of mass shootings in the United States involve instances of domestic violence. Women in the United States who are targets of domestic abuse and stalking are at an increased risk of gun attacks, and are more than three-and-a-half times as likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner. A gun in a household with a history of domestic violence also increases the risk that a woman will be killed there by 20 times compared to households without guns. And compared to women in other high-income countries, women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun.

Because background checks are not required on all U.S. gun sales, domestic abusers prohibited from gun ownership can easily circumvent limitations on gun access by buying a gun from a private seller. In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.

Americans for Responsible Solutions supports a range of policies that would protect women from gun violence, including:

Expanding background checks to cover gun show, internet, and other private sales;
Adding misdemeanor crimes of stalking, harassment or sexual assault to the list of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm;
Prohibiting all domestic abusers from access to guns, including dating and former dating partners; and,
Prohibiting the sale of firearms to domestic violence abusers who are under restraining orders by encouraging faster record reporting into NICS, leading to better enforcement.

Congresswoman Giffords formally delivered the petition and signatures at the conclusion of a meeting in the Capitol this afternoon with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy. Congresswoman Giffords also met with Senators from both sides of the aisle to discuss the need for Congress to act more aggressively to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

The full text of Congresswoman Giffords’ letter is below:
May 1, 2014

Dear Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley and Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Congressional action has meant the difference between life and death for many women. The Violence Against Women Act protects millions of Americans every year. The Lautenberg Amendment alone has prevented more than 250,000 domestic abusers from purchasing a gun from a licensed gun dealer. But many of those who perpetrate violence against women are still allowed easy access to firearms. And the violence continues.

Women are more than three-and-a-half times as likely to be killed by an intimate partner as men.
A gun in a household with a history of domestic violence increases the risk that a woman will be killed there by 20 times, compared to households without guns.

More than 1,000,000 women are stalked annually, and more than half are stalked by an intimate partner — with stalkers using guns to harm or threaten their victims in 1 out of 5 of those cases.
More action is needed – and soon. Women’s lives are at stake. We know more about the dangerous connection between domestic abuse and guns than we ever have. Let’s leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting women and their families.

On behalf of more than 500,000 members of Americans for Responsible Solutions, I strongly urge you to hold a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss ways to prevent gun violence against women.

Sincerely,

Gabby Giffords

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