The Isla Vista killings, with their focus on women, have brought back to the fore the need to prevent firearms from falling into the hands of domestic abusers. Half of the women murdered by their intimate partners are murdered by guns. And according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, if there is a history of domestic violence in a relationship, the risk of intimate partner homicide is twenty times higher compared to homes without guns. There are also serious gaps in protection which need to be addressed.
“While the law bars those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor from owning or purchasing a gun, only domestic partners are affected; a category that is defined as people who have lived together, had a child together, or been married. Dating partners are not included, despite the fact that these relationships are where nearly half of intimate partner homicides now occur. Moreover, only those facing long-term court orders, and who have had a hearing, are blocked from gun ownership. That loophole is the result of lobbying by the National Rifle Association,” writes Mara Kardas-Nelson.