IT’S WELL PAST TIME TO TAKE WOMEN OUT FROM UNDER THE GUN AND DISARM DOMESTIC ABUSERS

How Gun Violence Affects Women and Four Policy Solutions to Better Protect Them

Weak gun laws at the federal and state levels leave far too many women facing a fatal end to domestic abuse.

— by Arkadi Gerney and Chelsea Parsons  from the Center for American Progress

Violence against women looks very different than violence against men. Whether in the context of sexual assault on college campuses or in the military, violence by an intimate partner, or other types of violent victimization, women’s experiences of violence in this country are unique from those of men. One key difference in the violence committed against women in the United States is who commits it: Women are much more likely to be victimized by people they know, while men are more likely to be victims of violent crime at the hands of strangers. Between 2003 and 2012, 65 percent of female violent crime victims were targeted by someone they knew; only 34 percent of male violent crime victims knew their attackers. Intimate partners make up the majority of known assailants: During the same time period, 34 percent of all women murdered were killed by a male intimate partner, compared to the only 2.5 percent of male murder victims killed by a female intimate partner. DomesticGunViolenceA staggering portion of violence against women is fatal, and a key driver of these homicides is access to guns. From 2001 through 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in the United States by an intimate partner using a gun—more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

Guns are used in fatal intimate partner violence more than any other weapon: Of all the women killed by intimate partners during this period, 55 percent were killed with guns. Women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than are women in other high income countries. Limiting abusers and stalkers’ access to firearms is therefore critical to reduce the number of women murdered in this country every year. This idea is not new: Congress first acted 20 years ago to strengthen our gun laws to prevent some domestic abusers from buying guns. But we are still a long way from having a comprehensive system of laws in place at both the federal and state levels that protect women—and children and men—from fatal violence in the context of intimate and domestic relationships. This report provides an overview of the data regarding the intersection of intimate partner violence and gun violence, describing four policies that states and the federal government should enact to reduce dangerous abusers’ access to guns and prevent murders of women:

  • Bar all convicted abusers, stalkers, and people subject to related restraining orders from possessing guns.
  • Provide all records of prohibited abusers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
  • Require a background check for all gun sales.
  • Ensure that abusers surrender any firearms they own once they become prohibited.

Some states have already adopted some of these policies, and in the past 12 months, there has been a growing movement across the country to enact laws closing some gaps related to domestic abusers’ gun access in several states, including Wisconsin, Washington, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. This report collected and analyzed data from a variety of sources, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI; the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC; the Office of Violence Against Women; state criminal justice agencies; state domestic violence fatality review boards; and academic research. These data provide a snapshot of women’s experiences of violence in this country and show the glaring gaps in state and federal laws that leave victims of domestic violence and stalking vulnerable to gun violence. Many of these data have not been made public prior to the publication of this report and were collected through Freedom of Information Act requests. Among our findings:

  • In 15 states, more than 40 percent of all homicides of women in each state involved intimate partner violence. In 36 states, more than 50 percent of intimate partner-related homicides of women in each state involved a gun.
  • A review of conviction records in 20 states showed that there are at least 11,986 individuals across the country who have been convicted of misdemeanor-level stalking but are still permitted to possess guns under federal law. It is likely that there are tens of thousands of additional convicted stalkers who are able to buy guns.
  • While submission of records regarding convicted misdemeanant domestic abusers to the FBI’s NICS Index has increased 132 percent over the past five-and-a-half years, only three states appear to be submitting reasonably complete records—Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. Records from these three states account for 79 percent of the total records submitted to the FBI.

Every day in the United States, five women are murdered with guns. Many of these fatal shootings occur in the context of a domestic or intimate partner relationship. However, women are not the only victims. Shooters have often made children, police officers, and their broader communities additional targets of what begins as an intimate partner shooting. In fact, one study found that more than half of the mass shootings in recent years have started with or involved the shooting of an intimate partner or a family member. Enacting a comprehensive set of laws and enforcement strategies to disarm domestic abusers and stalkers will reduce the number of women who are murdered by abusers with guns—and it will make all Americans safer. Arkadi Gerney is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Chelsea Parsons is Director of Crime and Firearms Policy at the Center. Additional Resources:


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

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GOP Senator Takes Credit For Anti-Rape Law He Voted Against

The unethical dishonesty by the GOP leadership never ceases to amaze me.  Here’s a post from ThinkProgress today exposing yet another piece of flagrant dishonesty being committed by Texas’ senior senator, and the GOP’s Senate Minority Whip.  Personally, I find Sen. Cornyn’s behavior unethical, deceitful and unworthy of someone holding a seat in our nation’s Congress.


By Ian Millhiser posted from ThinkProgress Justice on Mar 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Ian MillhiserShortly after President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization into law, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) released a glowing press release claiming that a “Cornyn bill” to “eliminate nationwide rape kit backlog” was signed into law. The so-called “Cornyn bill” is the SAFER Act, which was incorporated into the VAWA renewal, and which “provide[s] funding for state and local governments to conduct audits of untested DNA evidence and create[s] a national reporting system to help track and prioritize untested rape kits,” according to Cornyn. By all appearances, it seems like a wonderful law. There’s only one problem.

image

Cornyn voted against it.

Cornyn was one of 22 Senate Republican men who voted against the VAWA renewal. He opposed the bill because he objected to a provision enabling tribal courts to prosecute non-Native Americans who commit rape or other violent crimes against women on Indian reservations. This provision is intended to combat the virtual lawlessness that faces Native American women on these reservations without the VAWA renewal. A 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office found that federal prosecutors “declined to prosecute 46 percent of assault matters and 67 percent of sexual abuse and related matters” on reservations.

(HT: Steve Benen)

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.


House Republicans Strip Protections From LGBT Victims In New Violence Against Women Act

— By Aviva Shen on Feb 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm

imageThe Violence Against Women Act expired at the end of 2012 after House Republicans refused to accept the Senate bill’s protections for LGBT, Native American, and undocumented victims. Though the Senate passed another bipartisan VAWA reauthorization over a week ago, House Republicans may derail passage once again. On Friday, House GOP leaders released their own VAWA bill, stripping protections for LGBT individuals and adding a loophole for Native American victims.

Where the Senate bill granted access to federal grants for LGBT victims, the House bill is silent, removing all mention of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” As a result of this omission, LGBT-inclusive crisis centers could be shut out from essential grant programs:

The House GOP bill entirely leaves out provisions aimed at helping LGBT victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the bill removes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from the list of underserved populations who face barriers to accessing victim services, thereby disqualifying LGBT victims from a related grant program. The bill also eliminates a requirement in the Senate bill that programs that receive funding under VAWA provide services regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The House bill also gives states some wiggle room by shifting greater authority to state government to decide which victimized groups are “underserved” and therefore deserve funding.

The Senate bill’s protections for Native American victims were also protested as“unconstitutional” and received vocal opposition from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Though the House bill does grant tribal courts the authority to prosecute non-native perpetrators of domestic abuse, these abusers can only receive a maximum sentence of 1 year. The bill states, “A participating tribe may exercise this special domestic violence jurisdiction over only domestic or dating violence offenses punishable by up to one year committed in Indian country against a tribal member or non-tribal member Indian who resides in Indian country.” The House also adds a provision allowing the accused to take their case to federal court if they feel their rights are being violated. Currently, Native American victims with non-native partners are caught in a limbo where tribal courts cannot touch perpetrators but federal law enforcement does not have jurisdiction.

Since its inception in 1994, VAWA has been instrumental in driving down the number of partner homicides and establishing community programs to help women in abusive situations.

After learning of the provisions removed from the House bill —

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a chief advocate for VAWA in the Senate, blasted the House bill as a “non-starter” and called for moderate Republicans to take action: “It’s not a compromise, it’s an unfortunate effort to exclude specific groups of women from receiving basic protections under the law… The protections included in the Senate for new communities of women are not bargaining chips that can be played with in order to appease the far right in their party. These are badly needed new tools to give women an escape from a life stunted by abuse…It’s time for moderate Republicans in the House to step up and finally force their leadership to stop ignoring the calls of women across the country.”


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

Heller Votes in Support of VAWA

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) voted in support of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). Heller is one of seven republicans to cosponsor this legislation, which provides vital services for victims and their dependents, and helps those affected by domestic violence find safety and opportunities to rebuild their lives.

“I am grateful that the Senate passed this important legislation and provided those who are affected by domestic abuse some much-needed comfort. Violence in all its forms is unacceptable and unfortunately Nevada’s struggling economy has limited state resources. I am confident that this bill will enable domestic violence programs to plan for the future and serve even more Americans in need. This bill will further prevention efforts that will result in reducing domestic violence and help our nation’s most vulnerable.

“This bipartisan effort is an example of how Members of Congress should be working together to solve the problems facing our nation. VAWA will truly make a difference in the lives of countless women in Nevada and throughout the United States,” said Senator Dean Heller.

According to the annual report released by the Violence Policy Center, Nevada has the highest rate of domestic violence killings by men against women in the nation. Out of every 100,000 women, 2.7 are killed annually.

S47: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Since its original passage in 1994, VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) has dramatically enhanced our nation’s response to violence against girls and women, boys and men. More victims report domestic violence to the police and the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 64%.

VAWA provides for a coordinated community approach, improving collaboration between law enforcement and victim services providers to better meet the needs of victims. These comprehensive and cost-effective programs not only save lives, they also save money. In fact, VAWA saved nearly $12.6 billion in net averted social costs in just its first six years.

A significant number of Senators appreciate the savings in terms of both social and financial costs, but twenty two members of the right-wing clearly see no value in continuing such efforts.  S47—the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013—passed the Senate on February 12th with a 78/22 vote.  Here’s the list of Senators who prefer to escalate the war on women:

  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. James Risch (R-ID)   ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)  ….  up for re-election in 2014
  • Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Thomas Coburn (R-OK)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SC)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-TX)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)  ….  up for re-election in 2016
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)  ….  up for re-election in 2018
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-TX)  ….  up for re-election in 2018
  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)  ….  up for re-election in 2018

22-VAWA-NOs

Get to know these faces ladies.  It’s time to watch closely,  just exactly how they vote on issues near and dear to our hearts.  If, through their words, their actions and their votes, they’re showing us that WE have NO value, then it’s clearly time that WE, as women, show them that they have no value and that WE no longer want them in decision and leadership positions where they would be able to impose their lack of values on us.  Two faces in particular are quite disappointing, Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio.  Apparently they’ve clearly joined the “I’ve got mine, good luck getting yours” club.

Reauthorization of the law, first passed in 1994, now heads to the House, where swift passage is far from guaranteed. House Republicans killed the legislation last year, though Democrats have now dropped some of the provisions that drew GOP objections, including expanded visas for abused immigrants.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/rubio-gop-white-house-hopefuls-oppose-violence-women-act-article-1.1263096#ixzz2KpTyVbqF

Democratic Community Calendar for Week of February 11, 2013

by Marla Turner,  NSDP Secretary

CalendarPresident Obama delivers his State of the Union address this Tuesday evening. Watch parties are taking place all across the state. If you are not already hosting a party, why not join one near you? Click here to see a list of events taking place that night.

In other news……

Senator Reid on Reauthorization Of The Violence Against Women Act
Last Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Republicans’ refusal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Read his remarks here.

Democratic Voter Registration Maintains Strong Lead in Nevada
Secretary of State Ross Miller issued a statement last week saying that 2,000 new voters were registered during January. Statewide, there are 42% Democrats, 34% Republicans, 17.5 % Nonpartisans, 4.68% Independent American Party, and 1.33% (17,269) are members of the Libertarian or other minor parties.

Building a Better Nevada
The NV Democratic Assembly and Senate launched “Building a Better Nevada” website last Monday. Nevadans can now share their vision on how to build a better Nevada, keep up to date on important issues during session, and learn about various members and issues in the spotlight section.  The website will display plans that are common sense ideas to make sure our state is on the right path for generations to come.

2013-2014 Nevada Legislative Guide
The new guide is out. Lots of historical information for political junkies as well as current info on this session’s legislature.

Legislative Reports

  • The Bulletin for the Allocation of Money Distributed from the Local Government Tax Distribution Account can be viewed at the following link: Bulletin No. 13-04

Nevada Stonewall Chairman Steps Down
Derek Washington, Chair of the Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus and the Stonewall Democrats of Southern Nevada, resigned last week to pursue other interests. We thank him for his service to our state and wish him all the best going forward. New officer elections will be held later this month.

We Are Nevada Radio Show Launched
We Are Nevada is a coalition of public employee unions and community partners standing up for middle class values. This coalition, representing 250,000 Nevadans, includes SEIU, AFL-CIO, NSEA, AFSCME, firefighters, police, PLAN, ProgressNow Nevada and Si Se Puede. They launched a weekly radio show that airs every Friday at 6:00 p.m. for one hour. Tune in on KLAV AM1230 or online.  The show features legislative updates, labor history, progressive guests and the defense of middle class values.

Environmental Grassroots Lobby Days
Mark your calendars – the Nevada Conservation League will host an environmental community grassroots lobby day on April 25th. More information will be forthcoming.

Nevada Drug Card
Nevadans can save up to 75% on medications, lower the cost of hearing and vision checkups, LASIK procedures and even some pet medicines through the Prescription Assistance Program. The card is free to all Nevada residents regardless of age, income, or current health coverage. Many of Nevada’s cities and counties are distributing the card. You can also request one online.

Tax Preparation Help From VITA Program
Volunteers from AARP and the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) will once again offer residents free assistance with personal income tax form preparation and electronic filing now through April 11.  Income restrictions will apply to qualify for assistance. Advance appointments are required at all locations. Find a location near you.

UNLV Journalism Scholarship Applications
The Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at UNLV is now accepting scholarship applications. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2013. Click here for more.

International Youth Soccer Tournament in Las Vegas
The largest international youth soccer tournament in the country will take place in Las Vegas Presidents’ Day weekend, Feb. 16-18. The Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Soccer Showcase is expected to bring more than 7,000 youths to the city and pump >$10 million into the local economy.

Applications Now Accepted for NLV Youth Scholarships
The City of North Las Vegas invites high school seniors who live in North Las Vegas to apply for the Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities Youth Award Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship recognizes students who have performed public or community services and have encouraged others to become involved in their communities. Applications can be obtained online, from counselors at high schools in North Las Vegas or at City Hall, 2250 Las Vegas Boulevard North. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on April 3, 2013.

Summer Youth Jobs

  • Clark County Parks and Recreation is currently recruiting to fill positions for the 2013 pool season. Positions are available for those 15 ½ and older from $9 to $15 per hour based on experience and certifications. The County’s Aquatics Department is seeking applicants to fill cashier, lifeguard, water safety instructor and management positions. Click here for more info.
  • Youth ages 17 to 21 may qualify for assistance with job training, job placement and continued education through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program offered through HELP of Southern Nevada. In Nevada, the WIA is funded by Workforce Connections. For more information, contact Madelyn Oropeza at (702) 369-4357 ext. 1861 or email her at moropeza@helpsonv.org.

Best of luck to all the candidates running for office with the UNR Young Democrats this week!

Have a great week, and as always, be well and do good.