Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 11:49 am | Fair 70º

 
 
 
 

Capps Introduces Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, has introduced legislation to improve existing laws to protect domestic violence survivors from gun violence at the hands of their perpetrators.

Today, one-third of women homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner with a firearm. However, current law makes a distinction between protections from an abusive spouse and protections from an abusive dating partner.

The Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act (House Resolution 1177) would rectify this inequality by extending federal firearms prohibitions on individuals subject to a domestic violence restraining order to dating partners. It also would extend the Lautenberg Amendment to dating partners, which would prohibit an individual convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor from purchasing a gun.

The legislation is modeled after existing California law. On Monday, the New York Times detailed current loopholes in the law as they pertain to domestic violence and gun possession, in an article by Michael Luo titled “Ruled a Threat to Family, But Allowed to Keep Guns.”

“Our current legal system makes an arbitrary distinction between protections for dating partners and protections for spouses and ex-spouses, creating a loophole in our gun laws and increasing danger for domestic violence victims and survivors. This is wrong, and that’s why I authored the Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act, which would ensure that all abused women, whether married or not, are provided the same protections,” Capps said. “In addition, this bill would provide greater security for domestic violence survivors by protecting them during the time when they are most at risk, in the minutes, hours and days immediately after leaving a violent partner. An abusive ex-boyfriend with a gun is no less lethal than an abusive ex-husband with a gun. It is time for federal law to join 18 states in recognizing that reality by passing the Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act.”

Additionally, the Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act would allow an emergency or ex-parte hearing to trigger a temporary prohibition on possession of a firearm. This change would allow a judge to issue a temporary protective order that would prohibit an abuser from possessing or purchasing a weapon in the days between the time when a woman leaves her partner, and the time at which a full hearing can be scheduled.

Women are most vulnerable in the hours and days immediately after leaving a violent partner, and these protective orders often serve as the first notification to an abuser that his partner is ending their relationship. Allowing temporary prohibitions on firearms would help protect women in the immediate aftermath of an incident and end of the relationship and before a full hearing can be conducted. Research has shown that these early moments in the separation are often the most dangerous to women leaving their abusers.

Last week at a hearing held by the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, Dr. Daniel Webster, director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, testified about the importance of passing Capps’ legislation and addressing the existing loopholes in the background check system that allow abusers to purchase firearms.

“Research demonstrates that domestic violence perpetrators’ gun ownership increases the risk of homicide 5 times above that of perpetrators without guns, but that prohibiting abusers access to firearms while they are subject to a restraining order saves lives,” Dr. Webster said. “The Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act will extend that protection to many who are in danger of armed and dangerous abusers.”

The Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act has been endorsed by the Brady Campaign, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Futures Without Violence.

“Inconsistent application of and loosely worded laws regulating the sale of guns has led to far too many homicides, whether as mass shootings or the nearly every day occurrence of victims of domestic violence being murdered by their abuser,” said Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Research shows that one out of three domestic violence victims are killed annually. Females whose partner threatens them with a gun or other weapon are 20 times more likely to be murdered than other abused female victims. One study shows that 40 percent of mass shootings that occurred between 2009 and 2012, the shooter targeted and killed a female intimate partner among other innocent bystanders.

“It is imperative that Congress act immediately and pass strong laws such as the Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act. Law enforcement must be armed with sensible gun legislation in order to keep as many guns out of dangerous hands as possible. No more senseless violent gun tragedies. One is too many.”

Kiersten Stewart, director of Public Policy, Futures Without Violence, said: “Guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination, killing thousands of women and children every year. Congresswoman Capps’ bill is a critical step in ending domestic violence homicides. This is legislation that will save lives.”

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >