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Expand Gun Violence Protections for Victims of Domestic Abuse

Although a high percentage of women murdered by a current or former intimate partner experienced stalking in the year preceding the murder, federal law allows convicted stalkers to possess and buy firearms. Moreover, though the law prohibits convicted domestic abusers from accessing firearms, it does not apply to dating partners. Loopholes also allow domestic abusers to access firearms. The result is that many victims of domestic abuse are particularly susceptible to gun violence. The presence of a gun in an abusive home increases the chance a woman is killed by 500 percent. 

In the 114th Congress, legislation was introduced in both houses of Congress to close those loopholes. In the House of Representatives, Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) and Robert Dold (R-IL-10) introduced the 
Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (H.R. 3130). In the Senate, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act (S. 1520). The bills, which are identical except for their titles, extend domestic violence protections to include “dating partners” or others “similarly situated to a spouse,” and make it illegal for convicted stalkers to own guns.

 Jewish Values

Our Jewish values speak directly to this issue. The Talmud teaches us that "he who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe" (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). The dehumanizing of the human being and the carelessness with which human life is taken stand in direct violation of these affirmations of our tradition. In the Mishneh Torah, (Sefer Nashim) we read that a husband "should not intimidate her [his wife] too much; he should speak with her gently, and should be neither saddened nor angry." (MT, Sefer Nashim 15:19). 

It is not enough simply to abide by “thou shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13); we are commanded not to be complicit in ongoing gun violence or violence against women. Silence, as we know, can be just as harmful as committing the act itself, and so instead we speak out against violence.

More Information

For more information on this issue, visit the RAC's Gun Violence Prevention and Gender-based Violence issue pages. You can also contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Maya Weinstein at (202) 387-2800.