Most domestic violence crimes are initially brought by local prosecutors, including District and State Attorneys. But as more and more domestic disputes escalated from bruises to bullets and bloodshed – and statistics confirmed that almost half of murdered women were slain by their domestic partner – the Justice Department decided to take action.
Remember: Federal law bars domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms.
The law doesn’t prevent abusers from merely buying guns. It also prohibits abusers from having guns – owning them, borrowing them, storing them, carrying them, or shooting them.
According to federal law, none of that permissible for anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or subject to a final protective order.
Why are domestic violence offenders included in America’s slate of prohibited persons? It’s plain and simple homicide prevention. Abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than those who don’t have access to a firearm.
The sobering statistics make one thing clear: If your significant other has been convicted of a domestic violence offense, or if you have a protective order against him, his gun puts you, your family, and others around you at risk. If you’re in north Texas and need help dealing with an armed offender, please reach out to our law enforcement partners at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives at 1-800-ATF-GUNS or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just as the threat is serious, so too is the potential sentence. The penalty for violating federal firearms laws is up to 120 months – or 10 years – behind bars.
So if you have been convicted of a domestic violence offense, it’s in your best interest to have someone turn over your weapons. If you don’t, you could be looking at serious prison time.
In fact, the chief federal law enforcement officer here in North Texas is leading the charge on holding abusers accountable for gun possession. U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox chairs the Attorney General’s Domestic Violence Working Group, and has already prosecuted a number of abusers for firearm offenses. You can listen to her discuss the initiative with the Conference on Crimes Against Women here.
The feds are committed to doing their part to reduce the toll of domestic violence. For more help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).