A brief update on some progress reported to the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign from the state of Iowa in the USA.

Since 1995, more than 200 Iowans have been killed in domestic abuse murders. And more than half of those victims — 111 Iowans — were killed with guns, according to a February 2010 report from the Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller's office. That’s why legislation to prevent domestic abusers from possessing firearms won bipartisan approval this year.

The new state law is modeled on federal law, which prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if they are subject to a civil domestic abuse protective order or have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Possession of firearms by domestic abusers already is prohibited by federal law. But Miller said Iowa law enforcement officials are reluctant to enforce federal law and that federal officials and federal courts do not have the capacity to handle more than a tiny fraction of the violations of the federal law. A state law similar to the federal law (and similar to laws now in effect in other states) will require the removal of firearms from ALL domestic abusers.

For more information see:

Heather's story - a survivor of armed domestic violence

Lethality Incidence with Firearms: Domestic Abuse Murders 1995 - 2010

Dealing with misinformation

There has been some misinformation disseminated about the legislation, and several points should be made clear:

First, firearms will not be taken away in the context of temporary no-contact orders. Firearms can only be taken away after a no-contact order is issued by a judge after adequate notice to all parties and a hearing where all parties have the opportunity to present evidence.

Second, at the hearing on the no-contact order, the judge sets a date certain by which the firearms must be relinquished and the individual involved is given due notice of this date.

Third, when the disqualification is lifted, the firearms must be returned to the individual. In the case of protective orders, the firearms must be returned five days after the protective order is no longer in effect. In the case of a conviction of domestic abuse, the firearms must be returned if the conviction is vacated or the person’s rights have been restored under state law.

Fourth, as an alternative to relinquishing the firearms to law enforcement, the individual may transfer the firearms to a qualified person designated by the judge or sell the firearms.

Originally published online at: http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/latest_news/releases/feb_2010/Prohi...