In the wake of Wednesday night’s shooting in suburban Houston which left six dead and one critically wounded, Mother Jones published an extensive report regarding the relation between domestic violence and firearm murders. The article reveals major holes in current federal and state laws, which do not restrict significant portions of domestic abusers from owning and purchasing guns.
Ronald Lee Haskell—the assailant who murdered his estranged wife’s sister-in-law as well as five of her family members—had a documented history of domestic abuse. In 2008, Haskell was convicted of simple assault against his wife, and last July, she filed a protective order against him. But Haskell may have legally owned the guns at the time of the shooting, because his protective order was reduced to a “mutual restraining order,” last October.
More alarming, however, is that Haskell is not an outlier: current federal and state laws allow many more would-be assailants to fall through the cracks of gun prohibition. “There are at least 11,986 people in the United States who’ve been convicted of misdemeanor level stalking but are still permitted to possess a gun,” the article explains. “Federal law doesn’t prohibit it, and neither do their states’ rules.”
These statistics reveal just how difficult it is for potential shooters to be dispossessed of their guns, even if they have a significant record of stalking and abuse. Of course, the consequences of such illogical legal standards are obvious. “This patchwork of weak laws endangers women,” the report states. “The data shows: Their chances of being killed by their abusers increase more than seven times if he has access to a gun.”
Read Mother Jones’ full report here.