Tag Archives: domestic violence

Wolf Calls for Passage of Bipartisan Enhanced Firearm Prohibition for Domestic Abusers

from Governor Wolf, November 13, 2017 [n.b. Senator Andy Dinniman, D-19, is among the 14 senators who introduced the bill]

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today called on the General Assembly to pass bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill 501 sponsored by Senator Tom Killion (R-Delaware), that would prohibit domestic abusers subject to final Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders from possessing firearms. Across the country, recent mass shootings often have a common thread: perpetrators with a history of domestic violence.

“We must protect victims – spouses and children – of domestic violence and attempt to prevent domestic abusers from escalating their violence in everyday places that result in mass murder,” Governor Wolf said. “It is time for the General Assembly to act on this bipartisan, commonsense legislation to protect victims and reduce violence.”

According to recent research, from 2009 to 2016 in the U.S., there have been 156 mass shootings—incidents in which four or more people were shot and killed, not including the shooter. These incidents resulted in 1,187 victims shot: 848 people were shot and killed, and 339 people were shot and injured. The majority of mass shootings—54 percent of cases—were related to domestic or family violence.

Senate Bill 501 was introduced at the beginning of this session and referred to committee in late March of 2017. It has bipartisan sponsors from across the state in the Senate.

Governor Wolf has pushed for a package of reforms aimed at combatting domestic violence, including SB 501 and: Continue reading

Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Challenge to Domestic Abuser Gun Law

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, March 26, 2014

“Victory for Families Everywhere,” according to The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously agreed that federal law prohibits all convicted domestic abusers from owning guns in U.S. v. Castleman. This is a victory over the corporate gun lobby that argued that federal law allows some domestic violence offenders to possess firearms. The Court rejected the gun lobby’s argument as contrary to the federal Lautenberg Amendment, which prevents persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic assaults from owning guns.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans – and every Supreme Court Justice – agrees that guns and domestic violence are a deadly mix, and that we need to make it harder, not easier, for dangerous people to get guns,” said Dan Gross, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “This decision will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Make no mistake, more needs to be done to expand and strengthen the Brady background check system to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling is an important victory for women, children and families across the country, who thankfully will continue to be protected by strong, sensible federal laws that keep domestic violence abusers from obtaining guns,” said Jonathan Lowy, Director, Legal Action Project, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “It is a telling indictment of the gun lobby’s extremism that not a single Justice agreed with its call to explode a gaping hole in the law that would have enabled domestic abusers to buy and possess guns in many states.”

In U.S. v. Castleman, a Tennessee man was charged with gun trafficking and illegal possession of a firearm, following a conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault in 2001. He argued that the Lautenberg Amendment did not bar him from possessing a firearm because the Tennessee domestic assault law did not require a sufficient degree of physical force. In 2010, a federal district court agreed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the ruling in 2012. The Supreme Court today unanimously reversed that decision.

“The ban on domestic abusers owning firearms has been an important part of federal firearms law since it was proposed by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg in 1996. Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers unquestionably prevents gun violence. In 2010 alone, at least 574 women in the United States were shot to death by a husband, ex-husband, or boyfriend—that is more than one woman murdered by a domestic partner every day,” added Lowy. “As the Supreme Court recognized, strong laws are needed to help remedy the undercharging of domestic assaults and difficulties in prosecuting domestic violence.”

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed an amicus brief opposing Castleman’s arguments in November 2013. The brief was joined by numerous gun violence prevention organizations, including the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Violence Policy Center. Jonathan Lowy is available for comment on today’s ruling by the Supreme Court.

View the amicus brief filed by the Brady Center.

What if he had a gun?

[n.b. Current PA law requires a records check between individuals ONLY for “pistols or revolvers with a barrel length of less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length of less than 26 inches. House Bill 1010, by Rep. Santarsiero (D-31, Bucks County), would remove those length limits.]

Fact: Domestic abusers with an active Protection from Abuse Order are prohibited by law from buying guns.

Fact: The National and Pennsylvania Background Check Systems include records of Protection from Abuse Orders to prevent abusers from buying guns.

Fact: In Pennsylvania, private sales of long guns are exempt from the background check requirement.

Fact: This loophole enables abusers to buy guns.

These facts add up to one conclusion: the private seller loophole for long guns must be closed.

If he had a gun

Background checks work and help protect women from their abusers.

Share this image on FaceBook and help us observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month by making women safer in Pennsylvania.


Shira Goodman
Executive Director

An Issue Beyond Debate: Congress Should Act Now to Protect Women

By Vice President Biden, WhiteHouse.gov, 7/31/12

I’ve spent a lot of years in Washington, and in the past, I had always found that even when partisanship was at its worst, there were still certain issues that rose above the normal course of politics. These days, unfortunately, even that precept is being challenged.

Protecting victims of domestic violence, an issue that has always enjoyed bipartisan support and should be well beyond debate, has become the center of one in Congress. And women across the nation are now at risk.

Let me explain what’s happening:

In 1994, I wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which established several critical new protections: first, it provides law enforcement with new tools to prosecute domestic violence crimes and put offenders behind bars. Second, it helps victims find safe places to stay so they don’t have to choose between living on the streets or living with someone who is hurting them. And third, it gives women a crisis hotline they can call when they need immediate help.

We’ve made a lot of progress as a nation since the act first became law. Annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. The national hotline has answered more than 2 million crisis calls, directing victims to life-saving assistance.

But make no mistake, this violence still happens every day….