March 18, 2015 – Speaking today at a roundtable event in the the New Jersey State House, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and leaders in New Jersey’s domestic violence prevention community urged state legislators to pass stronger laws that protect women and families from gun violence, including a proposal currently before the New Jersey State Legislature that would close the current loophole in state law that allows individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and subject domestic violence protection orders to continue to legally possess guns.
”Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. That makes gun violence a women’s issue – for mothers, for families, for me and you,” said Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention group Americans for Responsible Solutions. ”Women can lead the way. Together, we can change our laws. Please, join your voice with mine.”
“Gun violence perpetrated against women often stems from domestic violence incidents that escalate and turn tragic,” said Weinberg (D-Bergen). “We have to do more to protect the lives of women and children who find themselves in a dangerous family situation. By creating stronger laws that limit abusers’ access to firearms we will better protect victims against preventable and, too often, fatal gun violence. I want to thank Congresswoman Giffords and all of those who joined us today to advance this effort.”
“For victims and their children, domestic violence turns a chance to live the American Dream into a horrific nightmare. I know, because I’ve lived that nightmare,” said Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Too many victims are killed before they ever have a chance to get out, at the hands of abusers who have easy access to firearms. This legislation will change that – strengthening our gun violence laws in order to protect victims of domestic violence.”
”It was an honor to join Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for this critical discussion of what our leaders can do to help protect New Jersey women and their families from gun violence,” said Dr. Sarah McMahon, Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Rutgers Center on Violence Against Women and Children. ”Today’s conversation was an important step on the road to making our families and communities safer.”
Guns and domestic violence are a lethal mix in New Jersey, and guns play a major role in violence against women by intimate partners. There were 269 domestic violence homicides in New Jersey from 2003-2012 and nearly one-third of these homicides involved firearms. In 2011, over 53 percent of female homicide victims in New Jersey were killed in domestic violence incidents.
Nationally, women in the U.S. are 11 times likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. Abused women are also five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.