ADVOCATES URGE NATIONAL ACTION TO PREVENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOMICIDES
For Immediate Release: 4:00pm CST, July 29, 2014
Contact: Beth Meeks, (225) 752-1296
Baton Rouge, LA – July 29, 2014 – Louisiana domestic violence advocates continue to support legislation that will prevent domestic violence homicides. Beth Meeks, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, will join several advocates from across the nation in Washington, DC, for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Meeks and other advocates have urged Senators to support the Protecting Domestic and Stalking Victims Act by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). This legislation would protect victims of stalking and dating violence by restricting abusive dating partners’ access to firearms. The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, through Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, has provided information to the committee regarding domestic violence related gun deaths in Louisiana. Those scheduled to testify in support of the bill include Dr. Jacqueline Campbell, Sheriff Christopher Schmaling, and Elvin Daniel. Daniel is the brother of Zina Daniel, who was killed by her husband at a Wisconsin salon in 2012. Her husband purchased the firearm online and therefore was not subject to a background check. Two coworkers were also killed in the incident.
Keeping guns out of the hands of abusers is a top priority for Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This spring, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into effect a package of domestic violence laws, including a law prohibiting domestic violence offenders from possessing a firearm. Federal law currently prohibits abusive spouses from possessing firearms, but these restrictions generally do not apply to dating partners and those convicted of stalking.
Meeks stressed the urgency of addressing gun violence committed against women. “Not only does Louisiana have a domestic violence homicide rate significantly higher than the national average, we also have a higher percentage of these homicides being committed with guns.” Nationally, 52.5% of domestic violence homicides are committed with a gun. In Louisiana, this number is 74%. “Keeping guns out of the hands of abusers can prevent countless domestic homicides. Action on this issue is crucial to victim safety in Louisiana and across the nation.”
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The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV) is a state wide network of battered women’s programs, other organizations and individuals who share the goal of ending violence against women and children in Louisiana. LCADV empowers its members through advocacy, education, resource development and technical assistance.