June 10, 2019 Feature

Firearms and Domestic Violence Fatalities: Preventable Deaths

Jane K. Stoever

Introduction

A new client recounted multiple life-threatening events as I drafted her declaration to request a Domestic Violence Protection Order, the document explaining the history of domestic violence she experienced and why she needed the court order.1 I conveyed that what she recounted was harrowing and exceeded the legal standard, and I asked whether there were other times her ex-boyfriend had hurt her or times she feared for her safety that she wanted the judge to know. She responded, “I told you the times involving a gun.” Her ex-boyfriend’s abuse involving a gun was what “counted” as domestic violence to her, and there was a frightening abundance of additional abuse she had endured that met the legal definition of domestic violence.2

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