Gun Violence Is A Women’s Issue
As the nation keeps returning to the debate over gun control in light of the recent tragedy, there is a bill that has been quietly moving through the Capitol that should concern us greatly, because things are potentially about to get a lot worse. Already passed by 231 members of the House and now in the Senate, gun lobbyists are making their rounds: the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38/S.446) will enable individuals who are allowed to carry a concealed gun in their own state, to carry that gun anywhere else in the country, including right here in New York.
New York already has the strongest gun safety laws in the country, and Governor Cuomo now has his sights set on getting even tougher on domestic violence batterers by closing the loophole that allows batterers with felony convictions and orders of protections against them to still own some types of firearms, such as, long guns, rifles and shotguns. Citing the documented link between intimate partner violence and lethal gun violence, the Governor is also aiming to keep firearms out of the hands of men who are convicted of misdemeanor offenses involving domestic violence.
Indeed, every month 50 women are shot to death, leaving many more children motherless and nearly 1 million women alive today have been shot, or shot at, by an intimate partner.
The link between acts of domestic violence and acts of mass shootings are also well documented. An Everytown for Gun Safety analysis of every identifiable mass shooting — which are defined as incidents in which four or more people are killed by guns — between 2009 and 2016, found that in 85 of those 156 incidents (54%), the shooter killed a current or former intimate partner or other family member as part of or before going on a killing spree.
While New York has been taking action, our federal government has not. New York’s gun safety laws will mean very little if the NRA and Donald Trump get their way, and pass a federal law that forces every state to honor other states’ concealed carry privileges. That translates into nearly 16 million people in the US who have obtained conceal carry permits, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center. That doesn’t even account for the fourteen states don’t even require a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public, including neighboring Vermont and New Hampshire.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity would mean that domestic abusers, convicted stalkers, and violent offenders from outside New York will be free to ignore the laws of our state.
The last thing New Yorkers expect is to be on the subway platform or at Yankee Stadium and see a civilian with a gun tucked in their side. But the truth is, this can become reality if we don’t act. It’s about to be the Wild Wild West right here in our own backyard.
We must take action. Call your U.S. Senators in New York, and make sure they hear from you on this issue. Get your friends and family to reach every Senator on the Judiciary Committee especially in Iowa, California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Vermont, Utah, South Carolina, Texas, Nebraska, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Or go to nownyc.org for a pre-drafted tweet, letter, or script to get the word out.
With a President who can barely muster a response to the severity and breadth of domestic violence and who has accepted more than $11 million in campaign contributions from the NRA, it’s going to take the collective voices of women, and the public, to finally put an end to the devastation caused by gun violence. How many more shattered lives and families and communities do we need to witness before each and every one of us takes action?