The Gun Sense: For the Common Good team reminds us to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The ministry will be honoring domestic violence victims at its next prayer service at the Mourning & Remembering Lives altar near the pieta in Church. The service is generally held after all of the Masses on the final weekend of the month – however, the service is being pushed back one week, to November 4-5, in order to accommodate the Prayers For Mideast Peace at the end of the month. There will also be a letter regarding domestic violence at the Advocacy table as well.
In a domestic violence situation, the risk of death is 5 times greater if a gun is present. If you or someone you know is in need of support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Please see the info below to learn more about domestic violence.
MO Domestic Violence and Firearms – 2023
Facts and Stats:
- In domestic violence situations, the risk of death is 5 times greater if a gun is present. (American Journal of Public Health)
- Children who witness violence in the home are more likely to become perpetrators or victims of violence in adulthood…New studies indicate that witnessing physical abuse in the home can have the same neurological impact on a child as if they were abused themselves, putting them at greater risk for ptsd, learning problems, truancy, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, suicide attempts, intimate partner victimization, and violent or risky behaviors. (Journal of the American Medical Association)
- Over 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (Thehotline.org)
- During the past ten years, over 80% of all Americans have consistently supported the prohibition of gun ownership by those convicted of domestic violence. (Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions) In spite of this, many states, including Missouri,
- Laws prohibiting access to firearms for those convicted of violent misdemeanors were associated with a 23% reduction in intimate partner homicide rates. (American Journal of Epidemiology)
- Missouri ranks 6th in the nation for women being shot and killed by men. (Violence Policy Center)
- Data shows that there are about 4.5 million women in America who have been threatened with a gun, and nearly 1 million women who have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner. Even when a firearm is not discharged, abusers often use the mere presence of a gun to coerce, threaten, and terrorize their victims, inflicting enormous psychological damage. A 2014 survey conducted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline found that “abusers invoke the mere presence of a firearm to control and terrorize their victims” and will threaten to use such firearm “to hurt the victim, their children, other family members, friends, household pets or to commit suicide.” (Disarm Domestic Violence)
- In St. Louis, there were 10 homicides related to domestic violence in 2021, 7 homicides in 2022, and 4 in 2023. This May, the St. Louis County Police Department investigated 2 separate probable murder suicide cases within 48 hours. https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/st-louis-county-police-domestic-violence-resources-probable-murder-suicides/63-99043dfe-abaf-494a-876f-1a6471e57c72
- Under current federal law, two categories of individuals with a history of domestic abuse are prohibited from buying and possessing guns: 1) those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; and 2) those subject to a domestic violence restraining order that was issued after a full hearing. (Center for American Progress) This excludes dating partners, those convicted of misdemeanor stalking, and respondents of temporary restraining orders. Many states have laws that close these loopholes, but Missouri does not.
- The 2021 Second Amendment Preservation Act sought to prevent local jurisdictions from enforcing federal gun policies. While this was ruled unconstitutional in 2023, many Missouri legislators are still reticent to enact common sense gun policies that mirror federal laws.
- Missouri law tells a judge what protections s/he is allowed to grant someone in a temporary order of protection. Restricting an abuser’s access to have or buy a gun is not included in the list of protections that can be granted in a temporary order. (Www.Womenslaw.org)
- Missouri law does not specifically give judges the ability to order that an abuser is not allowed to have or buy a gun in a final order of protection. However, the law does say that a final order can include things the judge thinks are needed to keep a victim safe.3 Therefore, if you plan to file for an order of protection, you may want to be sure to specifically ask the judge to write in the order that the abuser cannot have or buy firearms in order to keep you safe. It will be up to the judge whether or not to include this.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text START to 88788.
Volunteer time or share your resources with local organizations such as: St. Martha’s, Safe Connections, ALIVE, Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry,
Write to your legislators to ask them to support the passage of Missouri SB431 (see below).
The St. Louis County Police Department Domestic Violence Unit and Victim’s Advocate can help victims find housing, counseling and even help with orders of protection. If you or someone you know is a domestic violence and abuse victim, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 314-615-8665.
More information and articles:
Missouri SB 431 (not passed yet)
This act provides that after a hearing for any full order of protection in which an order of protection is granted, the court shall also prohibit the respondent from knowingly possessing or purchasing any firearm while the order is in effect, inform the respondent either in writing or orally, and forward the order to the State Highway Patrol for enforcement.
RECORDS SENT TO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL (Sections 565.076 & 565.227)
This act provides that upon conviction for the offenses of domestic assault in the fourth degree and stalking in the second degree, the court shall forward the record of conviction to the State Highway Patrol. The State Highway Patrol shall update the respondent’s record in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and also notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation within 24 hours.
UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A FIREARM (Section 571.070)
This act provides that a person commits the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm if the person knowingly possesses a firearm and has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence in Missouri or any other state or is subject to an order of protection that was issued after a hearing in which the person had actual notice and had the opportunity to participate in such hearing.
This act has an emergency clause.
This act is identical to SB 59 (2023) and to provisions in SB 305 (2023) and substantially similar to SB 894 (2022), HB 1655 (2022), SB 144 (2021), and HB 2131 (2020).