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National Network Urges Supreme Court to Follow Clear Law that Keeps Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Violence Abusers

January 14, 2014

January 14, 2014 – The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) urges the Supreme Court to uphold federal laws—and those state laws like Tennessee’s—that were enacted to ensure that domestic violence abusers are prohibited from possessing guns.

“The only appropriate action in U.S. v. Castleman is to follow the clear and common sense language that prohibits domestic violence abusers from possessing firearms,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. “Approving the lower court’s strained linguistic gymnastics would ignore both the letter and intent of the law, as well as the unimaginable consequence of re-arming the very people who are most likely to murder their intimate partners.”

NNEDV cares deeply about both gun violence and violence against women. As Gandy says, “The incidence of domestic violence homicide sits squarely at the intersection of these two important policy priorities.” Women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other high-income countries. Even more telling, women in the US are murdered by their husbands and intimate partners with guns three times more than women are murdered by strangers using any combination of strangers’ guns, knives or other weapons.

It is undisputed that firearms in the hands of domestic violence abusers play a large role in the lethality of domestic assaults—and handguns are most problematic. A 2010 study revealed that handguns were used in 70% of the cases where men used firearms to kill women. Another study shows that homes with guns have a 3-fold increase in homicide risk as compared to homes without guns, and this risk increases to 8-fold when the perpetrator is an intimate partner or relative of the victim.

“The harrowing reality,” said Gandy, “is that when previous domestic violence exists, the risk of homicide is 20 times higher. That is why we have these life-saving laws and that is why the Supreme Court must deny Mr. Castleman the opportunity to become re-armed.”