As the President announced the details of his proposed plan to reduce gun violence, I could not help but feel a sense of responsibility.
To act, not only as the leader of an organization that promotes violence-free homes and communities, but as a concerned citizen who sees firsthand the drastic need for policy reform to combat gun-related killings.
Unfortunately, it seems that it took the recent mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown to springboard this issue to the National forefront. In actuality, every day victims of domestic violence face threats to themselves, their children and pets with firearms, followed often times with deadly actions.
According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence:
• From 1998 to 2001, more than 2,800 people with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions were able to purchase guns without being identified by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
• Of females killed with a firearm, almost two-thirds were killed by an intimate partner.
• Having access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times, compared to instances where there are no weapons.
These numbers are clear evidence that as a society we cannot sit idle and let someone else handle the issue. It is our duty to help protect domestic violence victims who often feel powerless. If I witnessed a violent encounter between partners in progress I would not hesitate to call the police. So why would I not embrace an opportunity to prevent that violence? One with potential to save countless lives in the years ahead.
The gun policy recommendations made by the President have already begun to face hurdles as politicians and lobbyists gear up for a battle of wills. It is up to us to urge our lawmakers to recognize this proposed legislation not as an issue of the Second Amendment but as a necessity to ensure personal safety.
Contact your members of Congress now to take action to support this plan. Not just once, but repeatedly – demanding that these stronger gun laws be implemented. A few minutes of your time could help keep deadly weapons out of dangerous hands.