Disarming Domestic Abusers
SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 416
50 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2019 Last revised: 24 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 21, 2019
Guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination. Every sixteen hours, a woman is fatally shot by her intimate partner in the United States; the mere presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent.
Recognizing these risks, federal law and some states prohibit domestic abusers from possessing firearms. But these laws are not being enforced. Perpetrators of domestic violence are rarely ordered to surrender firearms, and even when they are, there are often no mechanisms to ensure that weapons are safely relinquished.
This Article proposes strategies to disarm domestic abusers, proceeding in three parts. First, it describes legislation that would prohibit perpetrators of intimate partner violence from owning or possessing firearms. Next, it explains the mechanisms required to implement that legislation. Finally, it recommends litigation strategies to ensure meaningful enforcement. Only all three, working in together, have the potential to prevent the gun-related deaths of intimate partners.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation