Kentucky women deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Kentucky women deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Kentucky can do more to protect some of its most vulnerable people, especially women in our Commonwealth who are experiencing domestic violence. Women deserve the right to live their lives free of violence, mental and physical abuse, and the freedom to go about their daily activities without worrying about whether their abusive intimate partner might be waiting in the alley next to their workplace with a loaded gun.

Perpetrators of domestic violence use guns to threaten, intimidate, and assault their intimate partners as part of their coercive strategies to establish and maintain power and control. And often abuse ends in murder.

Research clearly shows that domestic violence and guns are a deadly combination. When a male abuser has direct access to a firearm, the likelihood that he will choose to shoot and kill a female partner increases by more than 1,000%.

Every month, across the United States, an average of 52 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Nationally, more than half of all intimate partner homicides are committed with a firearm. In Kentucky, this figure goes up 75% – 3 out of 4 domestic violence victims were shot to death in Kentucky.

Over the years, firearms purchase and possession prohibition laws have provided protections to survivors of domestic violence and/or who are subject to certain domestic violence protective orders.

However, recently, two federal court rulings struck down one of these life-saving protections for survivors of intimate partner violence. One of those rulings came from eastern Kentucky.

inside US v. Rahimi, the federal Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi) Court of Appeals ruled that restrictions on the possession of firearms by someone subject to a domestic violence restraining order were unconstitutional. inside US v. Combs, The US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted a motion to dismiss a charge of possession of a firearm subject to a domestic violence order on the same grounds.

Under current federal law, a convicted felon cannot possess a firearm. This includes someone who stole an item valued at $1,000 or more. But now a federal rule in eastern KY allows batterers, who are under a protective order, to buy and possess a firearm even after a state court judge determines they have committed domestic violence and it could happen again.

If you were a victim of domestic violence, would you fear someone who shoplifted $1,000 worth of merchandise, or your intimate partner who repeatedly pointed a gun at your head and threatened to kill you or your children, or who shot the family pet in front of you?

The Kentucky Women’s Experience Highest percentage in the country Sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. An abuser can have access to a gun when we know that an abuser without access to a firearm is 5 times more likely to kill a partner, a child, a family member or a bystander. It’s not right. We can do better.

The Kentucky Constitution promises “life, liberty, security, and the pursuit of happiness” to the citizens of our Commonwealth. We need to be a state that looks out for women and girls. We need to be a state that invests in improving social conditions for all Kentuckians, such as adequate and nutritious food, safe and affordable housing, quality education and health care, meaningful work and benefits, and accessible child care that will help protect the well-being of all women. and children, including survivors of domestic violence. Empowering women to become economically secure is the first step. The next step is their freedom to live and work without fear of violence and to pursue happiness without constantly looking over their shoulder.

Angela Ianelli

Angela Iannelli is the CEO of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Meg Savage, Olivia Spradlin and KCADV’s Angela Conway also contributed to this piece.

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