The Vermont chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements on the death of Julie Fandino, a 51-year old woman who was shot and killed by an on-duty Berlin police officer and ex-partner who later shot and killed himself in Barre Town on Monday, as reported by the Vermont Digger:
“Julie Fandino should be alive today,” said Seton McIlroy, a volunteer with the Vermont chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Once again, a woman was taken from her loved ones due to a domestic violence incident. Vermont lawmakers need to prioritize keeping Vermont families safe — starting with disarming domestic abusers.”
“Domestic violence has not stopped during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Maddie Ahmadi, a volunteer leader with Essex High School Students Demand Action and a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “It is past time for lawmakers to pass common-sense gun safety laws to prevent domestic violence and gun violence.”
Here’s more on domestic violence in Vermont:
- Vermont has experienced an increase in domestic violence calls during coronavirus as gun sales continue to surge and social distancing continues. Many domestic violence victims are trapped with abusers who have easy access to guns, and that’s a deadly combination.
- From 2014 to 2018, eight women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in Vermont. Of female intimate partner homicides in the state, 57% are killed with a gun.
- This session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers advocated for HB 610, which would disarm individuals subject to a domestic violence restraining order. Unfortunately, the bill only made it to the House Judiciary Committee before the coronavirus pandemic. However, next session lawmakers should prioritize passing this life-saving legislation.
Domestic violence and gun violence are inextricably linked, impacting millions of families and communities across the country. Guns exacerbate the power and control dynamic used by domestic abusers to inflict emotional abuse and exert coercive control over their victims — which is only worsened by conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic. This month also marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Access to a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that the woman will be killed. Nationally, every month on average, 53 women are shot and killed by intimate partners and nearly 1 million women alive today have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported an increase in traffic between March and May—and predicted a continued increase throughout the end of year. A recent study found that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with an 8% increase in domestic violence calls to police in 14 large U.S. cities in the initial three months of the pandemic.
More information about the intersection between domestic violence and gun violence here. More information on gun violence in Vermont is available here. To speak with a policy expert, Vermont Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, available 24/7, for confidential assistance from a trained advocate. If you’re unable to speak safely via phone, you can chat online at thehotline.org.