Intimate partner violence is a crisis exacerbated by Covid-19, with surging gun sales, shelter-in-place orders, and financial/other stressors. Hundreds of cities and counties report upticks in contacts to shelters and police departments. Victims are trapped in homes with abusers with guns.
Guns make it five times more likely that abusers will kill victims, with 53 shot and killed by intimate partners every month.
We must close loopholes allowing abusers access to firearms.
Federal law prohibits those with final domestic violence orders from buying/having guns, but that doesn’t include dating partners or convicted stalkers. New York and 29 other states have passed laws to limit access. But lawmakers everywhere must: require background checks on all gun sales; close the Charleston loophole (allowing gun sales after three days); include convicted stalkers and dating partners; strengthen relinquishment laws/procedures; support Extreme Risk Protective Orders — family member/law enforcement can seek temporary order removing firearms if found a danger to themselves or others; and increase funding for resources and record keeping.
Here are resources for those in need: National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (7233); (in Westchester) My Sister’s Place (800) 298-7233; Hope’s Door (888) 438-8700; elder abuse (800) 56-SENIOR (567-3646).
The writer is a volunteer with the Westchester group of Moms Demand Action