Supreme Court Keeps Guns Away From Domestic Violence Abusers

Washington DC (March 26, 2014) – “Victims of domestic violence and their advocates are breathing easier today, since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that convicted domestic violence abusers will be prohibited from possessing firearms,” said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), which celebrated today’s significant decision in U.S. vs. Castleman.

“A contrary decision would have eroded the very heart of the long-standing federal protections that prohibit abusers from possessing firearms,” said Gandy. “Frankly, we were terrified that a decision would re-arm thousands of abusers — the very people who are most likely to murder their intimate partners – which would have been tragic beyond measure. We are delighted that the Court upheld this vital law.”

NNEDV submitted an amicus curiae brief, with support from Mintz Levin, outlining the importance of upholding this protection through a common-sense interpretation of the law. NNEDV’s brief was referenced by the Court.

Women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other high-income countries. Even more telling, women in the US are murdered by their husbands and intimate partners with guns at a rate three times higher than women are murdered by strangers using any combination of guns, knives or other weapons. Another study shows that homes with guns have a 3-fold increase in homicide risk as compared to homes without guns, and this risk increases to 8-fold when the perpetrator is an intimate partner or relative of the victim.

“Firearms in the hands of abusers play a large role in the lethality of domestic assaults,” said Gandy. “When there has been previous domestic violence, as in the Castleman case, the risk of homicide is 20 times higher. With those odds, giving abusers unfettered access to deadly weapons is gambling with women’s lives.”

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NNEDV, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the leading voice for domestic violence victims and their allies. NNEDV members include all 56 of the state and territorial coalitions against domestic violence, including over 2,000 local programs. NNEDV has been a premiere national organization advancing the movement against domestic violence for over 20 years, having led efforts among domestic violence advocates and survivors in urging Congress to pass the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994.