To the Editor:
In the midst of a contentious election, it sometimes feels like there is nothing we can all agree on. But I’d like to offer one issue that leaves little room for debate: protecting Missouri families. And the first step we can take towards this goal is doing more to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Did you know that, in an average month, 50 American women are shot to death by an intimate partner, and many more are injured? And women in the U.S. are 16 times more likely to be killed with guns than women in other developed countries.
Domestic violence often claims the lives of victims outside of the abusive relationship, including family members, friends, law enforcement officers and total strangers. When American children and teens are killed with guns, 60 percent are homicides – about 1,600 per year. For children under the age of 13, these gun homicides most frequently occur in the home and are often connected to domestic or family violence.
Currently, Missouri has no laws prohibiting convicted domestic abusers, or abusers subject to restraining orders, from possessing guns. While most states have taken action to keep guns away from domestic abusers – including our neighbors in Kansas just this year – Missouri has not.
As Domestic Violence Awareness Month draws to a close, let’s call on our lawmakers to pass legislation prohibiting firearm possession by domestic abusers next year. It’s time to take action to protect Missouri families.