Thursday, February 16, 2017

Indiana domestic violence legislation: Don't disarm the abuser, arm the victim

Two competing bills in the Indiana House seek to make domestic violence less deadly for women — one by removing guns from the equation, one by adding more guns, report the Indianapolis Star. Only one of them is advancing.
Moving forward is a bill that would enable victims of domestic violence to get a handgun as soon as a judge grants a protective order against their abuser.
Going nowhere is a bill that would quickly deprive an alleged abuser of his guns once he becomes subject to a protective order.
This is despite an oft-cited study by advocacy groups that found women are five times more likely to die in domestic violence situations when a gun is present. The same study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2003, found no clear evidence that women are safer if they have access to a gun.
The legislation that's advancing, House Bill 1071, would enable abuse victims to use a protective court order as a handgun permit, avoiding the typical waiting periods. "It would give them a chance to immediately protect themselves," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville.
The Republican-controlled House Public Policy Committee voted 8-4 along party lines to move the bill to the House floor. The committee added an amendment to establish a group to study repealing Indiana's law requiring a license to carry a handgun.
The legislation that has yet to be heard, House Bill 1534, would force an alleged domestic abuser who is subject to a protective order to hand over his guns to police within 48 hours. So long as the order remains in effect, the abuser could not buy a gun or possess a gun.
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