Crime & Justice

Los Angeles city attorney calls for guns to be kept away from domestic abusers

File: Surrendered firearms sit on a table during a gun buyback event on Aug. 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
File: Surrendered firearms sit on a table during a gun buyback event on Aug. 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, along with the Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, are trying to get guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers. A report released Wednesday provides statistics and outlines best practices when it comes to keeping guns from abusers.

“This is a lethal combination — gun violence and domestic violence,” Feuer told KPCC. “We don’t need any more evidence that this is a very serious crisis.”

Announcing the report

According to the report, 52 percent of female homicide victims in the U.S. are the wife, mother, daughter, sister or intimate partner of the offender. 

The report states that 55 percent of intimate-partner-related female homicides were committed using a firearm. Another stat: when an intimate partner has access to a firearm, the risk of homicide increases by 500 percent.

The report comes from the Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, a group co-chaired by Feuer and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearms Policy.

“We ought not just throw up our hands and allow consistently people to be killed needlessly,” Feuer said.

Feuer has called on federal lawmakers to take action, specifically when it comes to regulating laws involving firearms and restraining orders.

Federal law says that a domestic violence perpetrator who is subject to a permanent restraining order can’t have a gun — but in 33 states, there is no rule against the subject of a temporary restraining order in a domestic violence context having a gun.

“That is a major flaw, because that could be the most dangerous time in that domestic dispute, when that temporary restraining order is first imposed,” Feuer said. 

California is one of 17 states that already has a law that says temporary restraining orders are a means for seizing guns, but Feuer says that the question arises whether the law has been implemented in a meaningful way to protect domestic violence victims.

The report provides recommendations for judiciary systems, law enforcement and prosecutors aimed at helping ensure a systematic procedure is created to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence.

“It is time for everyone, including members of Congress and members of the gun lobby, to accept the facts — guns in the home do not make you safer," Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, said in a press release from the City Attorney's Office.

Feuer said that there are two different bills pending in Congress that would change federal law when it comes to gun violence and domestic abuse — bills he said should not carry a politically polarized weight.

“It’s hard to imagine anyone, on either side of the political spectrum, objecting to the idea that an individual that is subject to a restraining order because he’s abused his spouse — I can’t imagine anybody saying he should have a gun,” Feuer said. 

The announcement of the report received recognition on social media from President Obama's adviser, Valerie Jarrett. 

Valerie Jarrett

“We provide a roadmap, a blueprint for how jurisdictions throughout the United States can move closer to the day when no domestic violence victim will also be a victim of gun violence,” Feuer said.

Read the full report here: 

PAGV Report