A possible nightmarish situation for victims of domestic violence is brewing in the US House of Representatives, which is expected to vote this week on a bill that would allow many forbidden domestic abusers to carry firearms in their homes. States of origin to obtain transport permits hidden in other places.
The bill, by Representative Richard Hudson (RN.C.), allows anyone with a permit from one state to carry concealed and loaded firearms in all other states. Opponents of the legislation, known as the Hidden Transportation Reciprocity Act, warn that it would allow states with the most flexible permitting standards to define the nation's laws and undermine the rights of states to protect their own residents.
The National Rifle The Association has called this legislation, which is expected to happen in the House, its "top legislative priority". It is likely to be the first bill to receive a vote since consecutive mass shootings. in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Experts in armed violence and victims' advocates say the legislation is particularly alarming for survivors of domestic violence, who are more at risk when their abusers can carry concealed firearms.
According to federal law, a person convicted of domestic violence or subject to certain protection orders is not allowed to possess firearms. But the law is limited: it only covers spouses, not boyfriends or bullies, and dozens of states have passed their own laws that expand federal legislation to keep guns away from abusers.
Currently, each state sets its own rules about who is eligible to carry concealed weapons. In some states, authorities may prohibit a person from carrying a concealed weapon at their discretion, as if they believe the applicant lacks good character or does not have a good reason to carry a loaded weapon in public. In other states, officials are essentially required to issue a permit to anyone who meets the basic requirements, such as passing a background check or completing security training.
Some states offer significantly more protections to victims of domestic abuse, dating and stalking violence than others. In 28 states, for example, people convicted of stalking can not bring them in public. But, as Everytown for Gun Safety's lawyer, Courtney Zale explained to HuffPost, under hidden carry reciprocity, a stalker in one of those states could obtain a Florida permit, which does not prohibit stalkers and issues permits to non-residents by mail. Then he could use that permission to carry the whole country.
In another example, an abuser who is found guilty of sexually assaulting his girlfriend can not legally carry a concealed firearm in Massachusetts. But under this bill, he could get a permit from nearby New Hampshire, which issues permits to non-residents and does not consider that offense to be prohibitive, and take his gun back to his home state.
In 25 states and Washington, DC, law enforcement can deny people a concealed carry permit if they have a history of red flags, such as repeated home riots. Under the reciprocity of hidden carry, a person can circumvent state rules by requesting a permit from a state with less stringent standards.
Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said the House measure would effectively "zero" countless state laws designed to protect victims of abuse. A person who is prohibited from carrying weapons in their home state due to domestic violence could apply for a permit from another state where they are still eligible due to more permissive laws, he said.
"The efforts that some states have made will be in vain," Glenn said. "Domestic abusers are very clever, if we think they do not know about these laws and ways to avoid them, we are sadly wrong."
If a woman in the US UU He is a victim of violence with firearms, usually due to domestic abuse. More than half of women killed with firearms in the US UU Between 2010 and 2014 they were murdered by their partners or relatives. Research on this issue is not ambiguous: guns make abusive relationships more dangerous. If the abusers have access to weapons, the victims are five times more likely to be killed .
Even when not used to kill and maim women, firearms are often used as a tactic to control and terrorize victims. In addition, the majority of the mass executions in the USA. UU involve a male perpetrator who addresses a family member or intimate partner.
Kim Gandy, president of the National Network to Eliminate Domestic Violence, said that when survivors move to escape their abusers, they often take into consideration the protections of a state's firearms.
"Imagine fleeing to another state where you think your abuser will not be able to carry a gun, and then discover that Congress says they can carry their gun with them and can hide it," he said.
Susan B. Sorenson, a researcher in gun violence at the University of Pennsylvania, said the House bill could endanger lives. There is some evidence to support that: a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that states with weaker concealed carry laws were associated with 10.6 percent more homicides with guns. hand.
"If this law is passed, it will be the state with the easiest permit requirements that will define the permit requirements for each state," said Adam Winkler, weapons policy expert and law professor at UCLA. "A state that is willing to grant permits to people with a history of domestic violence will undermine the laws of many other states that are trying to restrict abusers."
Need help? In the USA UU., Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline .