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New gun bill would make it harder for domestic violence abusers to get a gun

New bill could help protect domestic violence survivors
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 9:37 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new gun bill making its way through the Alabama Legislature would make it harder for domestic violence offenders, and some other convicted criminals, to get a gun.

The bill would make it illegal for these offenders to own or possess a firearm or ammunition.

Supporters of the bill said it’s an important step to keep domestic violence survivors safe.

House Bill 460 would prohibit anyone with a domestic abuse protection order against them, or convicted of a violent crime, from owning a gun.

There would also be stiff penalties against those caught with a gun including mandatory prison sentences, no probation, and no early release.

“At the federal level, we use firearms offenses to combat domestic violence all the time. It’s one of our chief tools in our toolbox.”

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Prim Escalona, said there’s a correlation between community violence and domestic violence.

So, taking these weapons out of their hands has real potential for stopping crime.

“If people are violent in their homes, they’re often violent outside of their homes and in the community. That’s certainly born out of from both our experience in our research locally, and so, we know that removing firearms from the hands of domestic violence abusers is an important step to keep victims safe, but also, to keep our communities safe,” Escalona said.

She said the process to obtain Protection from Abuse Orders, or PFAs, is sometimes imperfect, and Alabama lacks a database for them.

This can lead to violent offenders obtaining firearms and using them against victims.

Heather Campbell with the YWCA says HB460 is vital to take this power away from criminals and protect domestic violence survivors.

“Domestic violence victims and they have to have some sort of protection and that provides it. Now, again, if during the process of the petition through the permanency of it, and if an offender owns a weapon or does something with it, at this point, it’s a DV misdemeanor, but any legislation that is a harsher penalty and could provide more protection for our clients, we all very much support that and want that,” Campbell explained.

House Bill 460 is scheduled for debate in a committee meeting Thursday.

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