Gun Restrictions for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence

Gun Restrictions for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence

A new bill put forth by South Carolina lawmakers might be the next step in reducing domestic violence in the state. State Senator Larry Martin published his proposal, which seeks to inhibit the rights of domestic abusers from owning guns. This comes at a time when domestic violence has come to the forefront of today’s most controversial conversations about abuse in our society, and with South Carolina being ranked for many years as one of the states with the most violence against women (2nd nationwide behind Alaska).

The Gun Ban for Abusers Proposal

The proposal requires the following:

  • The abuser would not be allowed to have a gun if protective orders are filed against him.
  • An abuser convicted of a domestic violence offense would be barred from gun ownership for at least a decade after serving their sentence.
  • Abusers who fall under the bill would be required to dispose of their weapons themselves, rather than law enforcement attempting to confiscate weapons.
  • First-time offenders may be able to go to alternative education classes about domestic violence and aggression.

This proposal is not revolutionary; South Carolina is behind in the practice. There is already a corresponding federal statute but it cannot apply to South Carolina without there being a state law in force for state prosecution.

Domestic Violence in South Carolina

The state ban keeping domestic violence abusers from owning weapons is a response to the increasing amount of intimate partner violence experienced not only in South Carolina but nationwide. In South Carolina, 36,000 people report an intimate partner violence incident annually; this number, however, does not reflect the number of unreported violent incidents that actually occur within the state.

Gun Violence in Intimate Partner Situations in South Carolina

According to statistics quoted by the Violence Policy Center in the report When Men Murder Women, 50 females were murdered by males in 2012 in South Carolina. Of the homicides committed where the weapon was known, 71 percent of these female victims were killed by guns; and in 76 percent of these homicides where guns were used, handguns were chosen. A closer look at intimate partner violence in South Carolina will show that the majority of victims (68 percent) had an intimate relationship with the offender, usually as wives, common-law wives, divorced wives, or girlfriends. Finally, 66 percent of the homicides reported involved arguments between the victim and the offender.  These results indicate a significant connection between the use of handguns and intimate partner violence in South Carolina.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Domestic Abuse?

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or violence, there are a few different ways to protect yourself and your family until the matter may be resolved if you decide to file a complaint against your abusive partner. An Order of Protection is one way.

An Order of Protection is a petition against the petitioner’s abuser, who is a family or household member, that they must stop the abuse. The petition can be filed in the place where the petitioner lives, where the abuse took place, or where the abuser lives.

A temporary Order of Protection requires that:

  • the abuser must stop abusing or threatening the petitioner;
  • the abuser may not communicate or try to communicate with you; and
  • the abuser must stay away from your workplace, home, school, your child’s daycare.

A final Order of Protection, which is mandated after a formal hearing, may require that:

  • The contents of the temporary order of protection are put into place permanently;
  • The abuser can have temporary custody or visitation rights with shared children;
  • The abuser pay financial support for shared children;
  • The shared residence or shared possessions be owned by the petitioner or may divide them among the abuser and the petitioner depending; and
  • The abuser follows other orders in order to keep the petitioner safe.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence abuse from a family or household member, it is important to do something about it. Violence escalates throughout the years and gun restrictions are just one way to help reduce it. Getting yourself an experienced family law attorney like the attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC will help to make an already difficult and traumatic process easier. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation.