Gun violence is also an issue of disproportionate violence against women

Gun violence is also an issue of disproportionate violence against women

Gun violence is also an issue of disproportionate violence against women
April 18
09:00 2019

When the Violence Against Women Act was signed by President Clinton in 1994, I remember the women around me being excited there was a new law that would help protect women both in and outside of their homes.

When the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act this month following its lapse in December, the NRA opposed it — not because it does not support women but because it fights any policy restricting gun access no matter what, according to Snopes’ fact-checking.

Far too often, we see reports on our local news stations about a woman who has been killed as a result of domestic violence with a current or former partner. We’ve seen numerous women killed for rejecting a man’s solicitations. When women report a stalker to the authorities and the stalker is actually convicted, loopholes in federal law do not prevent the stalker from being able to buy guns, which can then contribute to violence against those women.

According to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in three women in the U.S. have experienced stalking, rape or physical violence at the hands of someone they are close to. How can the NRA position itself to compromise the safety of women? This is not an issue about lowering the criminal bar on who can own a firearm. Plain and simple, this is a case about protecting women.

The Center for American Progress released in a 2014 article that in 15 states, over 40 percent of all homicides of the women in each state was the result of intimate partner violence. In 36 states, over 50 percent of intimate partner-related homicides of women in each state involved guns.

Members of the NRA, how do you justify your stance to the mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts and other women in your life? Personally, I cannot even fathom how you all arrived at this decision considering the recent escalation of gun violence across the country.

No one is suggesting we take away the right to own guns from law-abiding citizens. But there must be some regulation of firearm possession for those who are a danger to intimate partners. Otherwise, the violence will continue and likely increase.

That is common sense. But society is slow to change and we have seen this demonstrated more than once since the formation of this country. Now, a deciding moment is being presented for all Americans to fight violence against women and stand by all victims of domestic abuse. Enough is enough.

Every man needs to help advocate for this change. The only way to change our state of affairs is to stand up and demand it.

Would you not do everything you possibly could to save a vulnerable person right in front of you? What about the women dying every day due to lax legislation and loopholes? Engage the system and make sure the Violence Against Women Act remains a part of the law.

Eventually, we should make domestic violence a felony, punishable by a mandatory one-year prison sentence with no parole, across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. There you have it. Under federal law, someone who has served at least one year in prison and been convicted of a felony cannot own a firearm. This resolution would hopefully prevent the death of some women.

Would abusers still be able to access guns anyway? With the state of our country right now, it is quite possible.

Featured Illustration: Shannon Quillman

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Marcus Sykes

Marcus Sykes

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