Inspired by a student who was murdered by her stalker, a Colorado lawmaker has introduced a bill banning gun possession by anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence or has been the subject of a restraining order.
Senate Bill 197 is the first of four gun violence prevention measures being considered in Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee today. The bill would also require an individual with a restraining order against them to relinquish any guns in their possession within 24 hours. State Sen. Evie Hudak (D-CO), the legislation’s sponsor, was a teacher at the school where the student was shot after filing a restraining order against her killer:
Hudak said the student who was killed at the private business college where she was teaching had taken out a restraining order against her stalker, and “we were all told to keep an eye on her.”
“She appeared to have dropped out of school,” Hudak said. “A few weeks later they found her body.”
This unnamed student is hardly an unusual case. American women are at a higher risk to be homicide victims than women in any other high-income country. Over 90 percent of female homicide victims are killed by someone they know, and 76 percent of these victims were stalked before their deaths. Guns are the most common weapon used in these murders.
Pro-gun advocates have tried to frame gun rights as an issue of women’s safety, claiming that gun-free zones disarm women who need to protect themselves from sexual assault. Since an estimated two-thirds of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows, a gun would probably not help a woman defend herself.
In reality, women are much more likely to be on the other end of the barrel. Nearly 6 times more women were shot by a husband, boyfriend or ex than by a male stranger in 2010. Purchasing a handgun, according to some analyses, provides no protection against homicide and actually increases the risk of being murdered by a partner. Abusers who have access to firearms are over 7 times more likely to kill their partners. Even women who simply live in states with higher gun ownership are 4.9 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women who live in lower gun ownership rates.
According to SB 197, Colorado is home to 41,244 domestic violence victims. The number of victims in the state rose dramatically by 11.6 percent between 2011 and 2012, compared to the 3.6 percent the year before.