Firearms and Domestic Violence: A Deadly Combination

From the National Center on Protection Orders Full Faith and Credit Newsletter, March 23, 2017

Firearms and Domestic Violence: A Deadly Combination

Currently, there is a significant amount of discussion in the United States surrounding gun violence. Firearms and domestic violence are a lethal mix. Looking at homicides that occurred in 2011, a recent study showed that nearly two-thirds of women killed with guns were killed by their intimate partners. (Citation: Violence Policy Center, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data 6, (September 2013) at http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2013.pdf . It is clear from this data that removing guns from domestic abusers saves lives.

It is important for all disciplines to understand the federal firearm laws and their relationship to any state laws. The complexity of firearm legislation and case law make it difficult and confusing to determine what laws apply and to whom. Federal law prohibits abusers who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence and persons subject to certain protection orders from purchasing or possessing guns and ammunition. Some states have enacted legislation that mirrors the federal firearm prohibitions. Other jurisdictions have adopted broader laws to address issues that the federal law does not address such as including dating relationships and stalking crimes. To assist practitioners, NCPOFFC has compiled a matrix of domestic violence-related firearm prohibitions.

All disciplines that deal with intimate partner violence have a unique responsibility to address the presence and use of weapons to ensure survivor safety. NCPOFFC has created firearms checklists so practitioners can be better prepared to deal with weapons possession. Please click the following link to access the appropriate firearms checklist:

Law enforcement checklist:
This checklist for law enforcement provides information on two classes of persons prohibited under the domestic violence related provisions of the federal Gun Control Act. Those subject to a protection order (18 USC 922 (g)(8)) and those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (MCDV) (18 USC 922 (g)(9)) are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. This document also provides tips on seizure and safe return of firearms as well as responding to information requests and incidents of officer-involved domestic violence. It is important for all disciplines to understand the federal firearm laws and their relationship to any state laws

Judges’ checklist:
This checklist for judges provides key information on the federal Gun Control Act provisions prohibiting purchase or possession of firearms by those subject to a protection order (18 USC 922 (g)(8)) or those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (MCDV) (18 USC 922 (g)(9)). Detailed information on who is prohibited, as well as surrender, transfer, and return of firearms, and requirements of judicial notification are provided.

Advocates’ checklist:
This checklist provides information for advocates facilitating a discussion with survivors about firearms. It also provides key information on the federal Gun Control Act provisions prohibiting the purchase or possession of firearms by those subject to a protection order (18 USC 922 (g)(8)) or those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (MCDV) (18 USC 922 (g)(9)).

Prosecutors’ checklist:
This checklist for prosecutors provides key information on the federal Gun Control Act prohibiting those subject to a protection order (18 USC 922 (g)(8)) or those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (MCDV) (18 USC 922 (g)(9)) from possessing a firearm or ammunition. This tool provides tips from charging decisions to documenting the conviction, as well as facilitating a community response to aid in convicting dangerous abusers.

NCPOFFC staff is available to assist practitioners in understanding both federal and state domestic violence related firearm prohibitions. Please contact NCPOFFC at 800-903-0111 prompt 2, or visit the website to access matrices of state firearm laws, case law, promising practices, and to request technical assistance or training on this issue.

‘Big Little Lies’ Shows That Domestic Abuse Doesn’t Always Look Like You’d Expect

A quick look at any synopsis of Big Little Lies will quickly give you the basic details on each main character — and one important thing to know about Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is that her husband abuses her in the privacy of their own home. Meanwhile, she’s the envy of everyone in Monterey thanks to her lavish mansion, effortless beauty, and the husband who’s oh-so charming in the presence of others. Big Little Lies’ depiction of domestic violence is important for a number of reasons — first and foremost, the issue doesn’t receive nearly enough representation onscreen and everyone’s latest TV obsession has now become a conversation starter. But I also give Big Little Lies major credit for showing that domestic abuse doesn’t always look or sound exactly as we might imagine it would.

The phrase “abused wife” tends to conjure up an image of a woman who cowers in fear and remains completely motionless when her husband hurts her. It’s easy (and understandable) to assume that a domestic violence victim would never dream of saying something like, “are you going to hit me again?” as Celeste does during a tense moment with Perry in the March 12 episode “Push Comes to Shove.” Those types of abuse victims absolutely exist, but so do women like Celeste — and by showing a character who sometimes hits her husband back and deliberately provokes him, viewers are challenged to look at our own preconceived notions about domestic abuse. Read the complete post.

New Hotline Available for Native American Survivors of Domestic and Dating Violence

A hotline is now available to specifically help Native American survivors of domestic and dating violence.

StrongHearts Native Helpline‘s initial service area is Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

“One of the problems in Indian Country is there’s a huge lack of services, and there really hasn’t been any efforts to create a database that pulls together all of the resources that are available,” said StrongHearts Assistant Director Lori Jump.

Jump said violence against women is an epidemic in Indian Country.

“Native American women are two times as likely as any other race to experience rape or sexual assault, two and a half times more likely to experience violent crime and five times more likely to be the victim of homicide,” Jump said. “So, we have an incredible need for services in our communities.”

The helpline will connect callers with confidential, culturally appropriate support services. Some of those services are meant to help sort out complicated matters of jurisdiction.

“The ability of Native governments to prosecute is pretty restricted in terms of who they can prosecute, especially when it comes to non-Native perpetrators,” Jump said.

The helpline is available at 1-844-7NATIVE Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Callers outside those hours can connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

StrongHearts is offered by The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It receives some funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.