Gabby Giffords Statement on Michigan Gov. Rick Synder Veto

January 15, 2015 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, today thanked Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for vetoing a bill before him that would have weakened current protections for victims of domestic violence and stalking in Michigan by allowing some individuals subject to domestic abuse and stalking protection orders to obtain a concealed pistol license.

In a letter last week, Congresswoman Giffords and women leaders in Michigan and around the country had called on Governor Snyder to veto the legislation before him.

”I thank Governor Snyder for doing the responsible thing, standing up for common sense, and vetoing this misguided legislation that would have made Michigan families less safe,” said Congresswoman Giffords. ”This bill would have made it easier for domestic abusers and stalkers to get their hands on guns. That’s why I joined with women leaders in Michigan and around the country asking Governor Snyder to do the right thing. I also want to thank Congresswoman Debbie Dingell for fighting for common sense and urging Governor Snyder to reject this legislation.”

”I applaud Governor Snyder for taking action today that most certainly saved the lives of many women and children in Michigan,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12). ”This wasn’t a partisan issue, but one that affects all women and families in our state. Every child deserves to feel safe and every woman deserves to be able to live and work in a community without fear that she may be stalked or hurt.”

If enacted, the bill, S.B., 789, would have allowed domestic abusers and stalkers subject to restraining orders in Michigan to obtain concealed pistol licenses unless a judge had specifically determined in the restraining order that they should not be allowed to buy or own guns – even though all such offenders are prohibited from obtaining concealed carry licenses under current Michigan law. Reciprocity agreements could have made these permits valid in 39 other states.

Under current Michigan law, all individuals subject to domestic violence and stalking protection orders are prohibited from receiving a concealed carry license.

In a letter delivered to Gov. Snyder on Friday, January 9th, the women leaders had urged him to veto the irresponsible bill.

”As women who are advocates for the safety and security of women and families, we have grave concerns over SB 789, a bill recently passed by the Michigan legislature that would allow your state to issue gun carry permits to domestic abusers,” read the letter. “Domestic violence and access to firearms are a lethal combination, and this policy undermines the safety of American women. We urge you to veto this bill. Allowing dangerous domestic abusers and stalkers to obtain firearms needlessly puts the lives of women and their families at risk.”

Click here to read the full letter.

In addition, voices around Michigan had urged Gov. Snyder to veto the legislation, including the editorial boards of The Detroit Free Press, The Times Herald, and The Battle Creek Enquirer.

Domestic violence, stalking, and access to guns are a lethal mix in the United States and Michigan. One in four women experiences domestic abuse in her lifetime, and one in six women experiences stalking. Meanwhile, the mere presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk a woman will die by five times.

From 2003 to 2012, 53.5 percent of female domestic violence homicide victims in Michigan were killed with guns.

The full letter sent to Gov. Snyder on January 9th follows:

Governor Rick Snyder

P.O. Box 30013

Lansing, Michigan 48909

January 9, 2015

Dear Governor Snyder,

As women who are advocates for the safety and security of women and families, we have grave concerns over SB 789, a bill recently passed by the Michigan legislature that would allow your state to issue gun carry permits to domestic abusers. Domestic violence and access to firearms are a lethal combination, and this policy undermines the safety of American women. We urge you to veto this bill.

Gun violence against women is an American epidemic. One in 4 women experiences domestic abuse in her lifetime and 1 in 6 women experiences stalking. Meanwhile, the mere presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk a woman will die by five times. American women are 11 times more likely to die by a gun than women in other similarly developed countries. Between 2001 and 2012 alone, 6,410 women were murdered throughout the country by an intimate partner with a gun. In Michigan, from 2003 to 2012, 53.5 percent of female domestic violence homicide victims were killed with guns.

SB 789 would weaken current protections for victims of domestic abuse and stalking in Michigan- actually allowing some individuals subject to domestic violence and stalking protection orders to obtain a concealed pistol license, when under current law, they would be prohibited. For over 20 years, federal protections have been in place through the Violence Against Women Act that recognize the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of those who perpetrate domestic violence. Federal law, however, must be complemented by state laws, policies and procedures to provide complete protection to victims of abuse. If SB 789 were to be enacted, some women in Michigan would be left in danger, as the protections they have relied on would be removed. In addition, the concealed weapons permits would be valid in 39 other states through reciprocity agreements.

Allowing dangerous domestic abusers and stalkers to obtain firearms needlessly puts the lives of women and their families at risk. We respectfully request that you veto SB 789.

Sincerely,

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Carol Robles-Roman, President and CEO, Legal Momentum

Deborah D. Tucker, Executive Director, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence

Katie Ray-Jones, President and CEO, National Domestic Violence Hotline

Kiersten Stewart, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Futures Without Violence

Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, Director of Social Policy & Politics, Third Way

Lisalyn Jacobs, Vice President for Government Relations, Legal Momentum

Lori Haas, Virginia State Director, The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence

Lori Weinstein, CEO/Executive Director, Jewish Women International

Mai Fernandez, Executive Diretor, National Center for Victims of Crime

Margot Bennett, Executive Director, Women Against Gun Violence

Michelle M. Garcia, Director, Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime

Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Ruth Glenn, Exeuctive Director, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Sue Hornik, Exeuctive Director, States United to Prevent Gun Violence

Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Center for American Progress

Michigan State Leaders:

Barbara Niess-May, MPA, MSW, Executive Director, SafeHouse Center

Beth L. Morrison, President/CEO, HAVEN

Jenny Kinne, President, National Organization for Women (NOW) Grand Rapids Chapter

Penny Wulff, Board Member, Turning Point, Inc.

Valentina Djelaj, Coordinator, Connect to Protect-Detroit Coalition