Last week the Supreme Court ruled that the right to have a gun in the home for self-defense applies to states and localities. What this means on the street is that in places like Chicago, the city cannot restrict access to guns for ordinary, law-abiding citizens. The Supreme Court also reaffirmed that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not an unlimited right. While the National Rifle Association wants to give anyone, anywhere the right to own a gun, the Supreme Court in this decision repeats that its decision does not cast doubt on long standing laws that prohibit felons and the mentally ill from owning guns. This is an important point. The Supreme Court is not challenging laws that already restrict gun ownership to criminals.
While this is a good reminder that we have these laws on the books and that the Supreme Court is not looking to change them at the moment, for victims of domestic violence, the ruling may not be enough. Already the National Rifle Association is using this ruling as a stepping stone to challenge laws that restrict gun ownership, that would allow ALL people, regardless of whether they are criminals or not, to have the right to own guns. They seem to believe that even if you are an abuser who has been convicted of a violent crime, that the abuser should still have the right to own a gun, despite the fact that access to guns increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times more than in instances where there are no weapons.
Approximately 80 Americans die from guns EVERY DAY. And EVERY DAY 3 to 4 of these people are women shot and killed by current or former husbands or boyfriends. While the Supreme Court still upholds the laws that prohibit gun ownership to the men that kill these women, there are those who believe that a woman’s life is not as important as her abuser’s access to the gun that can take her life.
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