For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – YWCA is encouraged by the bipartisan support in the House for a bill that we believe will reduce gun related homicides of victims of domestic violence and stalking.
The Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act of 2015 (H.R. 3130) will close key loopholes in current federal legislation to help end gun violence by abusers. Until this week, this was a single-chamber bill. As one of the largest providers of domestic violence services in the country, YWCA USA is thrilled to see the introduction of this bipartisan bill by Congresswoman Dingell (D) and Congressman Dold (R), which is a companion bill to the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act (S.1520) introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
“Ending domestic violence homicide cannot be a partisan issue,” said YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., “I am elated to see legislators working across party lines to end this outrageous epidemic.”
When an abuser has access to firearms, the likelihood that the situation will turn deadly increases five-fold. In fact, women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be shot and killed by a current or former intimate partner than women in any other developed country. Stalking also presents a heightened threat to victims of domestic violence. A recent study on female murder victims found that 76% of murdered women and 85% of attempted murder survivors had been stalked by a current or former partner in the past year. For this reason, YWCA advocates believe it is critical that firearms are removed from the perpetrator when any type of protective order is filed.
“Far too many women are murdered by their intimate partners when they attempt to leave a dangerous relationship,” Richardson-Heron told the crowd at today’s panel on the bill introduction, “Allowing abusers to keep firearms and failing to take stalking seriously are simply more barriers placed before women who are trying to get safe – this must stop.”
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233) to reach a YWCA or other service provider near you.