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Feminist News


January-16-14

Feminist Majority to Supreme Court: Don't Gut Federal Domestic Violence Law

WASHINGTON -- The Feminist Majority today urges the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban.

The Court heard arguments yesterday in U.S. v. Castleman, a case that appears to narrowly involve just one individual, but if the Court does not reverse lower federal court decisions, the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban will be gutted. Castleman is arguing that the law does not apply to him because his conviction did not state whether or not he used physical force against the victim. However, in most local jurisdictions, misdemeanor domestic violence cases are resolved under assault and battery statutes and do not specify whether physical force was used. The conviction only states that the offender is guilty.

Domestic violence is violence and convicted abusers should be covered under the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal.

"In a country where three women are already murdered every day through domestic violence, it would be tragic beyond measure to re-arm tens of thousands of abusers," said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).

According to NNEDV, women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other high-income countries, and victims of domestic violence who live in homes with guns have an 8-fold increase in homicide risk.

"The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban has protected millions of women and domestic violence victims since it was first enacted," said Smeal. "Abusers cannot be given access to deadly weapons."

The Feminist Majority played a pivotal role in passing the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban often referred to as "the Lautenberg Amendment," after its sponsor Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in 1996. The law prohibits individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes from owning or possessing a gun.

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