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It’s Past Time the State Passes a Bill to Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers. Arizona’s 2020 Legislative Session Begins Monday.

Moms Demand Action Volunteers with the Arizona Chapter will be Available for Interviews at the Arizona State Capitol on Monday 

Arizona lawmakers return to the state capitol Monday for a new legislative session, and with the start of the new year, there are new opportunities to pass common-sense gun safety laws –– starting with those that close the gaps that give domestic abusers easier access to guns. 

Arizona state gun laws are among the weakest in the country, with no legal requirement for background checks on unlicensed gun sales, and not nearly enough has been done in Arizona to keep guns away from domestic abusers. Between 2012 and 2016, the rate of intimate partner gun homicide in Arizona was 66 percent higher than the national average. Still, to date, the Arizona legislature has refused to take action to reduce gun violence. This session, lawmakers owe it to Arizonans to pass legislation to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, like domestic abusers.

Here’s why: 

  • Abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their female victims – Sixty-three percent of female intimate partner homicide victims in Arizona are killed with a gun, and between 2013 and 2017, 92 women in Arizona were fatally shot by a partner.
  • There is strong support for keeping Arizona families safe across party lines. Seventy-seven percent of Arizonans support prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or anyone who is subject to a domestic violence restraining order from purchasing a gun. That includes 71 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of gun-owning households.
  • Most mass shootings are related to domestic violence. In at least 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2018, the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member during the mass rampage.
  • When children and teens are killed in mass shootings, the shooting is often tied to domestic violence. Of the 309 children and teens killed in all mass shootings in the past 10 years, 72 percent died in an incident connected to an intimate partner or family violence.
  • Research shows that state laws that prohibit abusers who are subject to domestic violence protection orders from possessing firearms and also require them to relinquish any firearms in their possession are associated with a 10-12 percent lower total intimate partner homicide rate and a 14-16 percent lower intimate partner firearm homicide rate.

The link between domestic violence and guns is deadly –– that’s why 29 states from every region of the country, and the District of Columbia, have taken action to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Many measures have passed with strong bipartisan majorities and have been signed into law by Republican governors, including Gary Herbert in Utah, Brian Sandoval in Nevada, and Vice President Mike Pence in Indiana. It’s past time that the Arizona legislature joins states that are protecting their communities from armed abusers and put a strong domestic violence firearm law on the books.

Statistics about gun violence in Arizona are available here, and information on how Arizona’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here

If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from the Arizona chapter Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.