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Horrific Domestic Violence Shooting in Texas Shows the Danger of Allowing Domestic Abusers to Access Guns

May 16, 2023

Late last week, reports emerged of a 22-year-old Texas man shooting and killing his partner after she received an abortion. Reports indicate the man was angry about his partner’s choice to get an abortion and therefore shot her. This heinous incident comes not even a week after a reported white supremacist took the lives of at least eight people, and wounded at least seven more, at an outlet mall in Allen, TX.

In the U.S., the crisis of domestic violence is closely linked to the widespread and growing use of guns by abusers. Two-thirds of women killed by an intimate partner are killed with a gun. Existing loopholes in federal and state law allow access to guns by abusive partners and stalkers, often with deadly results. Earlier this year, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down a critical, long-standing federal gun safety law that protects domestic violence victims by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers subject to restraining orders.The Supreme Court is expected to decide to hear an appeal of the case, United States v Rahimi, but until the Supreme Court takes the case and ultimately reverses the Fifth Circuit decision, domestic abuse victims live under a cloud of uncertainty about a core protection against violence.

“This type of bone-chilling tragedy is a nightmare come to life. There is no understating the amount of fear a shooting like this puts in the hearts of people everywhere,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “Pregnancy is already a particularly vulnerable time, but with the rollback of basic autonomy by the courts in the Dobbs decision and the recent Rahimi ruling, women are being forced to fight for their lives in increasingly dangerous contexts of intimate partner violence and gender based violence.”

Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Nearly one million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners, and over 4.5 million women have reported being threatened with a gun by an intimate partner. Beyond the daily toll of this problem, in at least 46% of mass shootings with four or more people killed since 2015, the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member as part of the rampage. The ripple effects of firearms in the hands of an abuser extend far beyond the intimate relationship—affecting children who witness or live with it and the family members, coworkers, and law enforcement officers who respond to it. Read more about the public health crisis of intimate partner violence here.

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