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RELEASE: Iowa’s Weak Gun Laws Are Connected to Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

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Contact: Tom Caiazza
Phone: 202.481.7141
Email: tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Washington, D.C. – Five women are murdered with guns every day in the United States, most often by their intimate partners. Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a landmark hearing on the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence, titled “VAWA Next Steps: Protecting Women from Gun Violence.” The Center for American Progress and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have released fact sheets for 27 states providing detailed information about the scope of fatal domestic violence and the large role access to guns plays in that violence in each state.

More people were killed with a firearm in Iowa between 2001 and 2010 than the number of U.S. combat deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Access to firearms by domestic abusers is of particular concern in Iowa, where nearly 40 percent of all intimate-partner-related homicides in the state between 2003 and 2012 were committed with a gun.

“Women, particularly victims of domestic violence and stalking, are at an unacceptable risk of fatal gun violence,” said Rev. Cheryl R. Thomas, Executive Director of Iowans for Gun Safety. “As today’s Senate hearing makes clear, this needless gun violence can and must be stopped by closing the gaps in our system to protect victims of domestic violence. Congress must act, and as the senior Republican on the committee reviewing this issue, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) needs to stand up and lead this effort to protect all of our families from this tragic risk.”

The 27 fact sheets describe the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“More often than not, fatal domestic abuse involves a gun,” said Arkadi Gerney, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “These deeply intertwined challenges are made all the more dangerous by lax federal and state laws that allow dangerous abusers and stalkers to have easy access to guns. Today’s hearing is a milestone in the fight to improve protections to ensure that all women are kept safe from domestic abusers and stalkers who should never be able to get their hands on a firearm.”

“When it’s five times more likely that a woman will be killed by her abuser when he owns a gun, we know that guns make a domestic violence situation deadly,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “As a nation, we are failing to protect women from domestic abusers and stalkers by not closing these dangerous loopholes in our federal and state laws. The American public and legislators nationwide need to understand the lethal combination of guns and domestic abuse and support these common-sense solutions to save women’s lives.”

Last month, CAP released a first of its kind report analyzing the connection between gun violence and domestic and intimate partner violence and the failure of states and the federal government to take steps to curb firearm assaults within the existing legal framework.

Click here to view all 27 fact sheets.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
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Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
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Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
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