Washington, D.C. – Today, people from diverse spiritual backgrounds will call, email, and tweet congressional representatives and senators, urging them to close a dangerous loophole in current gun laws. This call to action was spearheaded by Jewish Women International’s Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence — a group of 36 faiths united in efforts to end violence against women and girls. Their letter to Congress, asking for improved protections to keep victims of abuse and stalking safe from gun violence, was signed by 500 clergy and national faith-based organizations, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Baha’i.
Under federal law, individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors against a current or former spouse are prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns. Yet perpetrators convicted of misdemeanor stalking or misdemeanor domestic violence against a dating partner can still freely access firearms, despite posing a significant risk to the safety of the victim.
JWI CEO Lori Weinstein issued the following statement:
Whether she’s gone on five dates, been married for five years, or had five children with him — a woman is not safe when her abuser has access to guns. The law’s narrow definition of intimate partner relationships leaves a dangerous loophole. We know that over half of all women killed by intimate partners were murdered with a gun, and nearly half of all intimate partner homicides were committed by a dating partner. Faith leaders, Republicans, Democrats, and gun owners support this legislation. It’s not controversial; it’s commonsense, and we need it now. Women’s lives are depending on it.
According to Negar Abay, Representative for Gender Equality and Advancement of Women with the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs:
It is time for humanity to reject all forms of violence and the domination of one over another. This legislation offers a serious step we can take right now to limit access to lethal weapons for those who have already made harmful choices – as a protection for potential victims and even for themselves. We can also do much more to develop in ourselves, our youth and our children the moral capacities to create homes and communities not only free from violence but also characterized by peace and equality.
More must be done to protect victims of dating abuse and stalking from further violence. The Interfaith Coalition is united in support of H.R. 3130: the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, and S. 1520: the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act.
For more information, go to www.jwi.org/loophole