LANSING — State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and two other Representatives introduced a bipartisan proposal to help protect survivors and potential targets of domestic violence. In the last 25 years, more homicides between intimate partners have been committed with guns than all other weapons combined. What’s more, in the U.S. victims of domestic violence are at greater risk of being murdered by firearms than in any other developed nation. Chang’s bill, House Bill 6134, along with HB 6135-6136, would keep deadly weapons out of the hands of people determined to be a danger to others through a second or subsequent court conviction of misdemeanor domestic violence for three years after the completion of their sentence.
“Survivors of domestic violence endure unimaginable pain and betrayal. It is our responsibility to ensure they have the peace of mind knowing they will be protected from further harm at the hands of their abusers,” Chang said. “It is not only irresponsible to allow convicted serial abusers to access deadly weapons, but it endangers the life of a survivor who deserves the freedom to heal and move on. This legislation is a common-sense solution to protecting survivors in our state.”
When restrictions are put in place to limit or prevent convicted abusers from accessing deadly weapons, the number of intimate partner murders drops by anywhere from 7-19 percent. It has also been found that in the U.S., 40-50 percent of women who are murdered are killed by their boyfriend, husband or former partner, whereas only 5-8 percent of men are killed by their partner.
“I thank Representative Chang for tackling this crucial issue and for working with my office for months on crafting the important language,” said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, whose office worked with Rep. Chang on the bills for two years. “This is a bipartisan issue dealing with responsible gun ownership. This is about preventing completely preventable deaths. Our children win with this piece of legislation. We all win.”
Currently, individuals convicted of felonies are restricted from possessing, using, transporting, selling, buying a firearm for three to five years, depending on the type of felony. This legislation would add misdemeanor domestic violence second or subsequent convictions to the existing statute. The bill package was developed in consultation with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, and other stakeholders.