Gun rights group opposes domestic violence bill

Arizona residents who have been victims of domestic violence in their relationships or marriages may be alarmed to learn that the National Rifle Association has launched a battle to prevent passage of federal legislation prohibiting convicted stalkers and batterers from buying firearms.

Existing federal laws prohibit those with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from buying guns. The bill proposed by a Minnesota Democratic senator would add people convicted of stalking to those banned from gun ownership. It would also expand the present definition of domestic violence towards "intimate partners" to include those who battered their dating partners.

The Huffington Post obtained copies of a letter the NRA sent to two senators that alleges the bill will “turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearm prohibitions." The letter also refers to stalking and domestic violence as “emotionally compelling issues” that can be manipulated to deprive people of their right to bear arms.

Anyone who has ever suffered the bruises and scars of a domestic violence encounter or has been terrorized by a stalker can imagine how the incidents could quickly escalate if a firearm were involved. Those who abuse their domestic partners and have access to firearms have a seven percent increased rate of killing their partners. A June report from the Center for American Progress reviewed data from 10 cities and found that 75 percent of women murder victims and 85 percent of those who survived an attempt on their life by their partner had been previously stalked.

Many women stay in these violence-prone relationships out of fear or a lack of resources to get out and stay out. A family law attorney might be able to provide advice and information to Arizona residents who find themselves in this dire situation.

Source: Source: The Huffington Post, "NRA Fights For Convicted Stalkers' Gun Rights," Laura Bassett, June 25, 2014

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