Can Congress Make It Harder for Abusive Dating Partners and Stalkers to Get Guns?

George Mason University law professor Joyce Malcolm said the bills under consideration “ride roughshod over” some of the “key rights” in the U.S. Constitution.

Blumenthal’s bill, she said, would allow the seizure of firearms from anyone subject to a temporary restraining order upon the filing of such a complaint.

“The police would be sent to search for, and forcibly seize, any firearms found in his possession. This is a serious infringement of due process, an Alice in Wonderland world in which, like the Red Queen, the new rule is ‘Sentence first! Verdict afterwards,’” Malcolm said.

She then offered criticism of Klobuchar’s, saying the bill is far too broad in its definition and would “net large numbers of innocent individuals” for a misdemeanor crime, such as stalking.

“The Klobuchar bill greatly expands the sorts of individuals who fall within its reach by adding the crime of stalking, a misdemeanor crime, and including a series of individuals who were or are non-co-habitating, those dating, formerly dating or known to the potential victim,” Malcolm said.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a group funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, estimates that 46 women are shot to death by a boyfriend or spouse every month.

Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, a nursing professor and researcher at the Johns Hopkins University, said the rate of homicides of women committed with guns in the U.S. exceeds the average rate in other industrialized nations by 11 times.

According to a Violence Policy Center analysis, more than 1,700 women were murdered by men in 2011. Of those homicides in which the weapon could be determined, 51 percent were committed with firearms.

Campbell noted that a survey of battered women indicated that when a firearm is present, a majority of abusers used the gun to threaten or injure the victim.

“Women who suffer abuse are among the most important for society to protect. Congress has an opportunity to do so by strengthening the laws to keep domestic abusers from getting guns. And ample scientific evidence shows that in doing so you will save lives,” she said.

Everytown for Gun Safety recently released an ad in the District of Columbia, Nevada, Arizona, and New Hampshire that called on three Republican senators to support legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.