On Thursday, Jan. 9, volunteers with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will attend and testify at the House Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety Select Committee hearing in El Paso. If you’d like to connect with a Texas Moms Demand Action volunteer ahead of the hearing, please reach out.
For decades, the Texas legislature has consistently weakened gun laws, despite high rates of gun suicide, gun homicide, and some of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. In addition to calls for background checks on all gun sales and a strong red flag law, volunteers will urge lawmakers to consider legislation that would address gun-related domestic violence in Texas. Gun-related domestic violence has a tragic link to mass shootings. Statistically, most mass shootings occur in private homes. And in more than half of all mass shootings over the past decade, the perpetrator shot a current or former partner as part of the rampage.
From 2013 to 2017, nearly 400 women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in Texas. The Texas legislature could address this problem by considering the below policies.
- Closing the boyfriend loophole: Today, women are as likely to be killed by dating partners as by spouses. Yet the current federal and Texas law that bars convicted domestic abusers from possessing firearms does not apply to dating partners who don’t share a child with their victim. While the Texas legislature has closed this loophole for abusers subject to domestic violence restraining order, they have not yet done the same for abusive dating partners convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.
- Disarming domestic abusers: Access to a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed. Under federal and Texas law it is generally illegal for convicted domestic abusers to buy or have a gun. But dangerous gaps in the law allow abusers to keep firearms they already have. Texas should join over a dozen other states including neighboring Louisiana that have passed legislation requiring convicted domestic abusers to relinquish firearms in their possession. These laws are associated with 14-16 percent lower rates of intimate partner firearm homicide.
Last month, the shooting death of Houston Sergeant Christopher Brewster while responding to a domestic abuse call underscored the danger posed by armed domestic abusers — not just to their victims, but also to law enforcement officers responding to calls. Ninety-five percent of law enforcement officer deaths in response to domestic disturbances between 1996 and 2010 were from a firearm.
More information on gun violence in Texas is available here.