Guns and Domestic Violence Don’t Mix: NJ State Legislation Edition

Domestic_violence_and_gunsReal Life is not a Hallmark Film. It’s not a Hollywood action blockbuster. It’s not even a daydream in which you get to be the hero. We know that, right?

And yet, there is a persistent fantasy, wholly unconnected to data or the cycle of abuse, that putting a firearm in the hands of a woman in the midst of a domestic violence situation will make her safer. The gunslinging fantasy of the liberated and angry woman having her say before kicking her abuser in the balls and then shooting him dead is just that: a fantasy. (A fantasy with jail and children in state care, by the way.) Sure, we can spend lots of time getting red in the face with anecdotals and what-ifs, but the data won’t change: When a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, women are more likely to be killed. We see evidence of this all too often, including when the gun belongs to the victim.

New Jersey’s Governor Christie recently directed his Attorney General to file a new regulation expediting permits for firearms to victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes. I am certain that this candidate for POTUS did NOT consult with any legitimate domestic violence advocates on this directive. As a friend who works in a shelter said, this is “toxic to the safety” of those in domestic violence situations. And it shows a complete ignorance of the financial, privacy, and grooming reality in which most victims live.

So there’s that. But Governor Christie has YET to sign legislation on his desk that takes a more sensible approach by adding a layer of safety. Assembly Bill 4218, which passed the State Assembly and Senate with bi-partisan support, is waiting for a signature. It makes sense. It makes sense. IT MAKES SENSE!

Among other provisions, the bill (A-4218) would:

  • Require domestic abusers to surrender their firearms while a domestic violence restraining order is in effect, or when they are convicted of a domestic violence crime or offense;
  • Require an abuser’s firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase a handgun to be suspended during domestic violence restraining orders;
  • Require an abuser’s firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase a handgun to be revoked if the individual is convicted of a domestic violence crime or offense; and
  • Require cross-referencing of records to assist in determining whether an alleged domestic abuser owns a firearm in order to assist law enforcement’s ability to ensure that an abuser does not have access to firearms.

Those who claim the process is already in place, have a(n incomplete) point. New Jersey has some solid laws in place regarding firearms and domestic violence. However, as we see time and again, it’s not enough.

This bill, A4218, can help victims of domestic violence feel safer and be safer while not infringing on law-abiding citizens. So why did the NRA and its New Jersey lobbying arm send representatives to testify AGAINST this bill, even as they called domestic violence complaints “annoyances”? More importantly, why hasn’t Governor Christie already signed this bill? He has time to attempt to (some would say un-state-Constitutionally) loosen the gun laws in a state with some of the LOWEST gun deaths in the United States. Surely he can find time, even while on the road, to sign a bill supported by domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, and both sides of the aisle in the State Legislature.

For other posts related to this topic:

#Savethe9

Domestic Violence and Guns: Not Just for Married Couples

Support Organizations the Fight Domestic Violence

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About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to the car culture, dealing with leaving a career I love, and spouting off along the way.
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