“I still see those empty orange running shoes in my dreams. What those two bullets took away. I miss her.”
These are the words a friend used to begin the story of his niece’s murder. Rebecca had just broken up with her then college boyfriend. He was a legally licensed gun owner. He didn’t have a history of physical or emotional abuse against Rebecca. But the day she broke off the relationship she was scared enough to phone the police after her ex called to say he was driving down to see her one last time. The police interviewed him and concluded he was not dangerous. He ended up going back to his car to retrieve his .357 Magnum. He went to her dorm room, shot her twice in the face then took his own life.
Women are five times more likely to be killed when her abuser has access to a gun.
Ebony’s estranged boyfriend came to the bingo parlor where she was hanging out with friends. He said, “If I can’t have her, you can’t have her either” then shot Ebony to death. Ebony’s ex had a history of domestic violence. Just 10 days earlier he was arrested for severely beating Ebony. He had a prior conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence. But under South Carolina law he was still legally allowed to own firearms.
Connecticut has its own illogical gun law. Under our current domestic violence protection law an alleged abuser who is subject to a temporary restraining order (TRO) is allowed to keep and buy guns even though the standard for a judge to issue a TRO is the likelihood of the victim facing “immediate and present physical harm.” During 2015 there were more than 40,000 reported incidents of domestic violence in Connecticut. It’s believed that many more are never reported to law enforcement.