Gabby Giffords Applauds Delaware’s Legislators for Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers

 

June 25, 2015 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), issued the below statement today applauding the bipartisan vote in the Delaware House of Representatives approving Senate Bill 83, which addresses gaps in Delaware law to help protect domestic violence victims from abusers with access to firearms. The bill, which had been approved by the Delaware Senate in a bipartisan vote earlier this month, now heads to the desk of Governor Jack Markell. Congresswoman Giffords’ statement:

“Today represents a bipartisan victory for common sense, responsibility, and safer communities. In the face of calls from Delaware’s domestic violence survivors and public safety officials, Republicans and Democrats came together to do the responsible thing: pass a law that helps keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and protect vulnerable people and their families. This law will save lives. I am grateful to the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington) and Rep. Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear), for standing up for common sense and for leading the fight to pass this life-saving piece of legislation. I am also grateful to Attorney General Matt Denn and Governor Jack Markell for their steadfast support for this commonsense bill.  I look forward to seeing Governor Markell sign this bill into law and help make Delaware a safer place to live.”

Once signed into law, Senate Bill 83, which was co-sponsored by Democratic and Republican legislators, will protect victims of domestic violence and dating violence by helping prevent domestic abusers’ access to guns, without affecting the Second Amendment rights of law abiding people. The bill would:

  1. Prevent individuals convicted of dating partner violence within the past five years from buying or owning guns. Under current Delaware law, when a dating abuser or a former cohabitant is convicted in a court of law beyond reasonable doubt of “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence” he or she is permitted to purchase or possess a gun. This poses a serious danger to the victim and his or her family. This legislation will prohibit abusers who have been convicted for a misdemeanor crime of a domestic violence when the victim was a substantive dating partner or when the criminal offense happened within 3 years from when the relationship ended from owning or possessing guns for 5 years.

  1. Protect victims who have fled their homes from their abuser. Current Delaware law only prohibits gun possession by a person convicted of victimizing a cohabitant if they were living together at the time of the crime. This means that an abuser does not lose his or her gun eligibility if he or she is convicted for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence after the victim fled the home. This legislation would ensure convicted abusers are prohibited from possessing firearms for five years when the criminal offense happened within 3 years from when the victim fled the home.

  1. Help enforce existing law by requiring that people subject to a Protection From Abuse order, who have been instructed to surrender their firearms, identify to the court how they have done so. The bill would also help ensure that guns are surrendered pursuant to a PFA order by clarifying that the abuser must turn over these weapons immediately upon the request of a law enforcement officer or, if no request is made, within 24 hours at a staffed police station.

Congresswoman Giffords visited the Delaware State Capitol last month and called on lawmakers to pass SB 83 and help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

A recent survey of registered Delaware voters conducted on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions found that a broad majority of Delawareans – including gun owners – support the bill’s key elements. Click here to read a summary of the research’s findings.

Nationally, women in the U.S. are 11 times likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. Abused women are also five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.

Gabby Giffords & NJ Advocates Applaud Legislators For Passing Bill To Keep Guns Away From Domestic Abusers

June 25, 2015– Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), and Garden State domestic violence prevention groups applauded leaders in the New Jersey legislature today after the bipartisan vote in the State Senate approving a bill (A4218/S2786) that establishes effective procedures that will provide guidance and assurance to law enforcement, victims, and advocates to help limit abusers’ access to guns.

The bill, which had previously been approved by the New Jersey State Assembly in a bipartisan vote, now heads to Governor Chris Christie’s desk.

“As in so many communities around our country, guns and domestic violence in New Jersey can be a deadly, tragic mix. So in the face of calls for action from New Jersey’s domestic violence survivors, advocates and public safety officials, Republicans and Democrats came together to deliver a real victory for common sense: a bipartisan bill that would help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and protect vulnerable women and their families,” said Congresswoman Giffords. “I hope to see Governor Christie sign this commonsense bill into law and help make New Jersey a safer place to live.”

“This bill will help to strengthen our current firearms legislation that seeks to prevent perpetrators of domestic violence from maintaining and gaining access to firearms that put victims’ lives in danger,” said the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women. “Victims of domestic violence are five times more likely to be killed by a current or former abusive partner when the perpetrator of violence owns a firearm. From 2003 to 2012, 30.5 percent, nearly one third of victims of intimate partner homicide in New Jersey were killed by guns. By providing guidance to the courts and law enforcement this bill will help to address gaps that currently exist to improve upon the process with which firearms are seized, to ensure law enforcement access records documenting perpetrators’ firearm purchases and ownership, and to support information shared with victims allowing them to enhance their safety plans.”

“The time has come for each of us to become a strong voice in our community for victims of domestic violence – in speaking out to protect their lives and the safety of their children and by limiting access to firearms for individuals who have demonstrated a history of family violence,” said Nancy Hutchinson, Program Supervisor Camden County Women’s Center.

A4218 / S2786 will strengthen New Jersey’s laws and help protect domestic violence survivors by:

  • Requiring domestic abusers to surrender all of their guns if a domestic violence restraining order is in effect, or if they’re convicted of a domestic violence offense;
  • Suspending the gun purchaser ID cards and permits of abusers;
  • Revoking such cards if an abuser is convicted of a domestic violence crime; and,
  • Requiring the cross-checking of records to determine if an abuser owns a firearm.

In the last two years, similar bills addressing the often lethal mix of domestic abuse and access to firearms have been embraced by leaders from both parties in a number of states, including Alabama, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Nationally, women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. Abused women are also five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.

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Americans for Responsible Solutions, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Partner to Push States to Protect Children from Unintended Shootings

June 25, 2015– Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released a new resource today urging state legislators to pass laws that can help protect children from unintended shootings.

The new resource, “Commonsense Solutions: State Gun Laws to Protect Kids from Unintended Shootings” is being released as states around the country continue to grapple with the risks and often deadly consequences of children who access improperly secured firearms. Every year, nearly 100 children in the United States die from unintended gun shot wounds. Nearly 1.7 million children and youth under age 18 are living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms in the United States. Children in the United States are at least 16 times more likely to be killed in unintended shootings than in other advanced countries.

The report outlines the key steps state legislators can take to address shortcomings in federal law and help protect children in their state from unintended shootings. These steps include:

  • Requiring adults to keep guns properly locked up or under their immediate control whenever they have a reason to know a child is present or might have access to the area;
  • Requiring gun dealers to ensure that all gun buyers, including buyers of rifles and shotguns, are provided with a gun lock or other safety device;
  • Ensuring that safety information accompany the sale or transfer of every gun by a licensed gun dealer;
  • Prohibiting adults from allowing children to handle machine guns, even if they are supervised, because of how dangerous these weapons are.

Click here to view the full toolkit.

The resource is the latest joint publication by ARS and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence offering proposals that state legislators around the country can adopt to help reduce gun violence in their communities. Previous toolkits addressed steps legislators can take to protect women and families from gun violence and close loopholes in their background check system for gun sales.

“Keeping guns locked up and out of reach from children is the commonsense thing to do. Too many children have accidentally shot and killed themselves, family members, or friends simply because a gun wasn’t safely stored. Many of these deaths could have been avoided if there were laws on the books to ensure guns were kept in safe and secure locations inside the home,” said Americans for Responsible Solutions Founder & 501(c)(4) Director Peter Ambler. “We hope that state legislators around the country can seize the opportunity in 2015 to help make our children and communities safer from gun violence.”

“It is unacceptable that American children are 16 times more likely to die from unintended shootings than kids in other countries, especially given that these deaths are so easily preventable,” said Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Our latest Commonsense Solutions toolkit with ARS gives lawmakers and activists everything they need to adopt simple, lifesaving laws that will keep guns out of the hands of children.”

Americans for Responsible Solutions was founded by Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly in January 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting to find sensible ways to reduce gun violence and encourage elected officials to enact responsible firearms policies that protect the Second Amendment.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly known as the Legal Community Against Violence) was founded after the 1993 shooting in San Francisco that left eight dead. Today, it is the only national law center focused on providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention and the promotion of smart gun laws that save lives. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Law Center is dedicated to preventing the loss of lives caused by gun violence by providing trusted, in-depth legal expertise and information on America’s gun laws.

Gabby Giffords & Mark Kelly Statement on the Mass Shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC

June 18, 2015 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, the Co-Founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, issued the below statement following the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which claimed nine lives:

“Once again, a senseless act of gun violence has brought terror, tragedy and pain to one of our communities. And once again, gunfire and bloodshed has visited one of America’s houses of worship. This time, a shooting has shattered the community at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, whose congregants have stood so often on the side of the needy and of peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Emanuel A.M.E. Church, and the families of those who were taken in this tragedy.”

Gabby Giffords Applauds the Delaware Senate’s Bipartisan Passage of Bill to Limit Domestic Abusers’ Access to Guns

June 17, 2015 Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), issued the below statement today after the bipartisan vote of 15 to 6 in the Delaware State Senate approving Senate Bill 83, which addresses gaps in Delaware law to help protect domestic violence victims from abusers with access to firearms. Her statement:

“Delaware’s domestic violence survivors and public safety officials have been calling on their leaders in Dover to do more to protect vulnerable women and their families from gun violence. Today, the Delaware Senate’s leaders from both parties answered that call. They delivered a bipartisan victory for common sense. In passing this bill and its life-saving protections, these leaders stood up to the gun lobby and stood up for a safer Delaware.”

Women in domestic abuse situations are five times more likely to be murdered if their abuser has access to a gun. Senate Bill 83, which was co-sponsored by Democratic and Republican legislators, would protect victims of domestic violence and dating violence by helping prevent domestic abusers’ access to guns, without affecting the Second Amendment rights of law abiding people. The bill would:

1.) Prevent individuals convicted of dating partner violence within the past five years from buying or owning guns. Under current Delaware law, when a dating abuser or a former cohabitant is convicted in a court of law beyond reasonable doubt of “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence” he or she is permitted to purchase or possess a gun. This poses a serious danger to the victim and his or her family. This legislation will prohibit abusers who have been convicted for a misdemeanor crime of a domestic violence when the victim was a substantive dating partner or when the criminal offense happened within 3 years from when the relationship ended from owning or possessing guns for 5 years.

2.) Protect victims who have fled their homes from their abuser. Current Delaware law only prohibits gun possession by a person convicted of victimizing a cohabitant if they were living together at the time of the crime. This means that an abuser does not lose his or her gun eligibility if he or she is convicted for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence after the victim fled the home. This legislation would ensure convicted abusers are prohibited from possessing firearms for five years when the criminal offense happened within 3 years from when the victim fled the home.

3.) Help enforce existing law by requiring that people subject to a Protection From Abuse order, who have been instructed to surrender their firearms, identify to the court how they have done so. The bill would also help ensure that guns are surrendered pursuant to a PFA order by clarifying that the abuser must turn over these weapons immediately upon the request of a law enforcement officer or, if no request is made, within 24 hours at a staffed police station.

Congresswoman Giffords visited the Delaware State Capitol last month and called on lawmakers to pass SB 83 and help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

A recent survey of registered Delaware voters conducted on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions found that a broad majority of Delawareans – including gun owners – support the bill’s key elements. Click here to read a summary of the research’s findings.

Nationally, women in the U.S. are 11 times likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. Abused women are also five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.

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