Feds Crack Down On Gun Possession By Domestic Abusers
The US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio has announced indictments of four area men on charges of firearms possession. As convicted domestic abusers, they were forbidden from having guns. That crackdown is part of a new effort by law enforcement agencies.
“Since I became US Attorney in August 2017, Ohioans have held funerals for three police officers who were killed while responding to a domestic dispute.” said US Attorney Justin Herdman. “There are countless examples where the person on the other side of the door has opened fired on a spouse or has opened fire on the responding officers or both.”
Herdman is working with local police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to indict more weapons violators on federal charges so they can be put behind bars for a longer time than is possible on state charges.
“For years domestic violence was seen as a problem that could be dealt with most successfully in state courts and municipal courts and I saw an opportunity to bring federal enforcement tools to this fight,” Herdman added.
He says his office filed more than 250 firearm indictments in the past year, nearly a 50 percent increase over 2017.
A recent Centers for Disease Control study found that, over a ten year period, 55 percent of murdered women were killed by their partners.
Melissa Graves, CEO of the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center in Cleveland, says getting guns out of the hands of people already convicted of domestic violence would have “a tremendous impact on saving lives.”
But it’s not just about shootings.
While the presence of guns is obviously a key factor in homicide,” Graves said, “it’s important to know that guns are even more frequently used by abusers to threaten, intimidate, and control their victim.”
The effort is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program to combat violent crime. It started during the George W. Bush administration in 2001 but was largely stripped of funding by Congress in 2004. Last year Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wanted to “reinvigorate” the program.
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