Firearm Policy Reform: Act Now!
January 16, 2013
The current state and national focus on gun violence offers an unprecedented opportunity for us to inform the public dialogue and impact policy developments that will save the lives of victims of sexual and domestic violence. While the tragedies in Aurora, Newtown and Phoenix sparked the current momentum for action on gun control, we must not lose sight of the fact that the risks associated with gun access are of daily concern to sexual and domestic violence victims. Between 2003 and 2012, on average, 37% of all domestic violence homicide victims were killed with a firearm. In addition, guns are used to threaten, intimate and injure victims. As a movement, we have an important voice in this debate.
We applaud President Obama, Vice President Biden and Governor Patrick for making gun safety legislation a top priority. Universal background checks for gun sales, addressing “straw purchasing,” enforcement of suspension and surrender provisions of 209As, and other legal and systems measures must be matched with measures to support survivors, hold offenders accountable and prevent violence in the first place. We need a nuanced response that is rational and multi-dimensional. And we need research to inform this work. JDI calls on President Obama to issue a Presidential Executive Order that removes the restrictions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on firearms and violence prevention. As JDI's Executive Director Mary R. Lauby states, “The country’s access to critical research has been held hostage by the NRA and gun lobby long enough.”
Read JDI's full press statement in support of these efforts to limit access to firearms.
Here’s what you can do:
1) Advocate for the U.S. Congress and the Massachusetts Legislature to act now. We need our elected officials to feel and understand the passion, intensity and urgency of the support for universal backgrounds checks, assault weapons bans and other measures. If we are not active, a vocal minority opposed to these efforts will provide an excuse for our representatives to vote with the gun lobby and against gun safety. Be engaged in the effort by calling/writing Congress and your MA Legislators, organizing your friends and family members to add their voice. Watch for Action Alerts from JDI.
2) Inform the debate through the media. Consider sending a simple letter to the editor or op-ed to your local media outlets in support of these measures.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of victims, and thank you for your help with this historic effort. Stay tuned for more!