Following the recent domestic violence shootings and murder-suicides in Idaho, the Idaho Statesman this weekend editorialized on the urgent need to take action to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
The link between domestic violence and guns is deadly. In Idaho, that’s become far too clear. Research shows that access to a firearm in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that the woman will be killed. No family should live in terror of a domestic abuser armed with a gun hurting them or their loved ones.
But unfortunately in Idaho, too many do live in fear.
“Women like Jaclyn Zabel, 29, who told police as early as 2014 that her husband…had beaten her in front of her children, and later that he threatened her with his gun. [Her husband] returned May 28 to fulfill his promise.
“Or like Lora Skeahan, 48, whose abusive boyfriend repeatedly violated no contact orders, returning home to beat and torment Skeahan, before killing her July 5.
“The victims were of different ages and backgrounds, but they had in common boyfriends and husbands with a documented history of violence against women, and the means to carry out their threats to kill, thanks in part to inadequate state laws.
“Idaho, unlike most other states, does nothing to prevent monsters who prey upon their former partners from obtaining and possessing firearms. State lawmakers could change that, and should.”
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.
Twenty-nine states 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.
Time and time again we are reminded that guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination. Idaho lawmakers must do more to protect Idaho women and families. To learn more about the link between domestic violence and guns please don’t hesitate to reach out.