On Sunday, Heidi De Leon and Jose De Leon were shot and killed by Heidi De Leon’s ex-husband in Meridian in a murder-suicide. Heidi De Leon had recently filed for a petition to modify her child support arrangement with her ex-husband. This tragic shooting follows another domestic violence murder-suicide in November, when Elizabeth Boone was shot and killed by her husband. She’d filed for divorce just days before. And earlier in 2018, Jacklyn Zabel and Kaylynn Butler were also shot and killed in murder suicides.
This trend is far too common in Idaho and across the country. Between 2013 and 2017, there were at least 33 victims of intimate partner homicide in Idaho. Fifty-five percent of these victims were shot and killed. Federal law prohibits those convicted of certain domestic violence crimes from purchasing or possessing guns, but Idaho state law does not align with federal law. With no state law on the books, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors do not have the tools they need to enforce the law and bring abusers to justice.
Time and time again we are reminded that guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination. Research shows that the presence of a firearm in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that the victim will be killed. No family should live in terror of a domestic abuser armed with a gun hurting them or their loved ones. Twenty-nine states and DC have already taken action to keep guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers. It’s time for Idaho lawmakers to speak up for these victims of gun violence and prohibit domestic abusers from possessing guns.
For these victims of domestic abuse, it’s a matter of life and death.
To learn more about domestic violence and guns please don’t hesitate to reach out.