Bills would ban domestic abusers from owning guns

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If you’ve been convicted of domestic abuse, you can still own a gun in Florida. But that may be about to change.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani and Sen. Lori Berman have sponsored legislation that would prohibit convicted domestic abusers from purchasing firearms.

There are federal gun laws that protect women from convicted domestic abusers by denying firearm possession for individuals convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” or subject to a final domestic violence restraining order.

Elected officials are saying that the “Gun Safety for Women Act” will fill any potential gaps in the system by forcing any one convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor to submit all firearms and ammunition to law enforcement.

In a statement, Sen. Berman said: “Guns pose a grave and imminent threat to the safety and well-being of women and families.” Berman said, “Insufficient and weak gun laws on both the state and federal levels are at the heart of the problem with the gun violence against women in our country.”

Compared to women in other high-income, developed countries, U.S. women are 16 times more likely to be killed with a firearm, according to data from the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Out of 156 mass shootings that took place in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016, 54 percent of them were related to domestic of family violence, according to a study by the gun reform group Everytown for Gun Safety. This analysis described a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people were shot and killed excluding the shooter.

Though these laws would be beneficial for women, some believe that there are individuals who will find a way not to acknowledge the laws put in place.

Lisa Lauray, a theater professor at Florida A&M, questioned how effective these efforts would be.

“Laws like locks are for honest people. So, it may help a few, but the majority of people with questionable character will find ways around the law,” Lauray said “However, every little step that helps society move forward in eradicating gun related violence is positive.”

Rep. Eskamani said in a statement that, “Experts who investigate mass shootings say a history of domestic violence is often a missed clue. We have seen more than one case in Florida where a mass shooter has had a history of domestic violence. The lives of Floridians and especially women’s lives are on the line and we’re going to keep fighting for their safety.”