GIFFORDS: “This Violence Needs to End”

Washington, DC — Today, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun safety organization, Giffords, responded after a mass shooting in Detroit became the scene of the third nationally reported shooting linked to domestic violence since Saturday. Domestic disputes in Ohio, Kentucky and now Michigan all led to gun violence that left family members shot, and in two cases, wounding or killing police officers.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“How many families must be torn apart before we take action? How many officers will be killed or injured in the line of duty before we acknowledge that America is facing a crisis? The connection between domestic violence and gun violence is horrifying and devastating. For too long, we’ve tolerated a system that makes it all too easy for dangerous people, like domestic abusers, to get their hands on a gun and turn it on the ones they are supposed to love and officers working to keep their communities safe.

“Already this year, America has experienced at least 28 mass shootings in the places where we live, study, and work. And we know more than 100 Americans die every day from gun violence. This level of gun violence is not normal. There are measures we can take to reduce our unprecedented epidemic of gun violence. We know what the solutions are to end this horror. What we need now is courage.

“We need lawmakers at every level to stand up and show the courage to act. We need them to embrace the American spirit that has led us to solve big problems before—and stop the devastation unleashed by gun violence. This violence can end. But that will require politicians to open their eyes, stop ignoring the American people, and take responsibility for making our communities safer.”

The Lethal Connection Between Guns & Domestic Violence

Guns and domestic violence are a deadly mix. Abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm, and domestic violence assaults involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to end in death than other types of assaults. But it’s not just the victims of domestic violence that are put in harm’s way when an abuser has access to a firearm. When responding to calls for help, domestic disputes are the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the line of duty.

What We Know About These Shootings

Detroit, Michigan

An hours-long standoff between a gunman and police officers left three women dead and three police officers injured before the gunman took his own life. The death was discovered by a video surveillance robot which Michigan State Police sent into a second-floor window. When police entered the premises they discovered a female hostage had been killed after two other women were shot by the gunman earlier in the night. One of the victims is believed to be related to a woman that the suspect was dating. The suspect had seven firearms registered in his name and a family member reported to the police that he may have been suffering from mental illness.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig: “When are we going to realize? We need to do more. This is not a Detroit thing,” he said. “This is national. When will it end?” [Detroit Free Press]

Johnson County, Kentucky

Four people were killed in two shootings that took place Saturday night in what police called a “horrific murder spree.” Authorities responded to a shooting at a residence and found two victims dead in the kitchen, both parents of the suspected gunman. Deputies later received a tip that the suspect’s vehicle was spotted in Paintsville, where two additional victims identified as the gunman’s girlfriend Lindsay Vanhoose and her mother, were found dead inside an apartment.The gunman took his own life after committing the murders.

Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price: “There are no words to describe the heartbreak in seeing four lives taken due to the actions of one man. I have worked in law enforcement for 34 years. This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen.” [WKYT]

Westerville, Ohio

Two veteran Westerville Police officers were “immediately met with gunfire,” shot and killed on Saturday night after responding to a 911 call. Records show the home where the officers were called Saturday had a recent history of domestic violence and disturbances.

Westerville police Chief Joe Morbitzer: “True American heroes. We will miss both of these officers because they were pillars in our department.” Between sobs, the chief said they both “lived and breathed” the profession. “They knew how to do policing the right way, both of them.” [Cincinnati.com]

To speak with a gun law expert, contact media@giffords.org.

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