N.H. bill aimed at tracking domestic violence data

An effort to keep better track of domestic violence offenders will go before New Hampshire lawmakers next year, and advocates expect it to bring about a debate over gun rights.

A proposal calls for a statute that would add the victim’s relationship to the offender as an element of the crime. Thirty-four states and the federal government have such laws, but New Hampshire is not one of them.

The law would make it easier to compile data about domestic violence and help the police investigating an assault know whether a previous assault on a suspect’s record was, for example, a bar fight or a case of domestic violence, said Amanda Grady Sexton of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

She said it also would help clarify which offenders lose the right to own guns under federal law.

People convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses under state, federal and tribal law lose the right to purchase or possess guns and are placed on a federal registry. The crime must include the use of physical force, an attempt at it or the threatened use of a deadly weapon. It must also involve a current or former spouse, parent or guardian of the victim. Other relationships that trigger the placement on the federal registry include sharing a child in common or living with the victim currently or in the past as an intimate partner.