Too Many Domestic Violence Homicide Victims
February 24, 2014
Nineteen year old Irais Acosta was just beginning to follow her dreams. She wanted to be a nurse and was planning to enroll at a local community college when her 18-year-old boyfriend, who was described as jealous and controlling, fatally shot her.
Sadly, there are many such stories of promising lives cut short by domestic violence. An average of three women are killed by a current or former abusive partner every single day in the United States. And when abusers have access to firearms, the risk of intimate partner homicide increases by 500%.
For every victim, for every Irais Acosta, we mourn the loss of life, the dreams left unfulfilled, the positive contributions to our society that could have been. We extend sympathy to surviving family, friends, and community members that grieve the loss of their loved ones. And hopefully, we deepen our resolve to work toward a day when these senseless murders no longer shred families and communities.
At NNEDV, we are working to ensure that those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and those with a restraining order against them are not able to purchase or possess a firearm. Federal law already prohibits such individuals from owning or buying guns, yet loopholes in the law create an all-too-easy pathway for abusers to circumvent these prohibitions.
In more than 40 states, criminals convicted of domestic violence offenses (and other prohibited purchasers) can avoid background checks by buying guns — often at gun shows or through anonymous online transactions — from unlicensed private sellers who are not required by current federal law to conduct background checks. Gun owners should also be responsible for ensuring that they are not lending guns to someone who is prohibited from possessing them.
Federal legislation is urgently needed to close dangerous loopholes in the law and to keep guns out of the hands of those who would murder their intimate partners.
For more information and statistics on the tragedy of domestic violence homicides click here.