Representative Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) has spoken out in favor of increased gun control. After the Las Vegas Massacre, she was quoted as saying that, "If you're a terrorist you can't fly" but "an assault weapon you can buy." Moore has never wavered on the issue, but a new bill introduced last week reveals a more personal reason why she wants to make it even harder to buy a gun.
As reported by the Huffington Post, Moore was trapped in an abusive relationship while in her twenties with a man who eventually put a gun to her head. She had endured many brutal beatings at the hands of her then-boyfriend. One of those beatings, she said, put her in the hospital. His violent behavior escalated to the point where she feared for her life and that of her 3-year-old daughter. Pulling that gun on her was the last straw.
Fast-forwarding some four decades later, Moore is doing her part to help women, like herself, escape violent domestic situations. She and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced a new bill called Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Act of 2017. The measure proposes that grant money be given to states who enact laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Women are at the highest risk of being killed when they attempt to escape their abusers. Without resources to relocate and secure themselves and their children, many women opt to stay.
"When women leave, they need somewhere to stay, they need childcare, they need their locks changed, and they need law enforcement to step in and take the guns," Moore said. "Why would anyone try to leave if there are no guardrails to protect them."
Many state lawmakers have done their jobs in getting laws on the books to protect victims of domestic abuse. Enforcing those laws is a whole other challenge in itself.
"While many states have appropriate laws to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous domestic abusers, not all jurisdictions have the resources or supports to actively enforce these laws," said Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "Research shows these laws save lives--but only when effectively implemented."
Moore is well aware that the bill, should it be passed, isn't the entire solution to the issue of domestic violence, but it will help.
"As horrific as I recall it being, it is not rare for women to be controlled, to be beaten, to be physically and emotionally and verbally abused on a daily basis," Moore said. "This bill won't solve every problem, but it is one more loophole to close."