To the Editor:

Domestic violence claims at least 2,000 lives each year. Seventy percent of the victims are women. More than half of the time, the weapon used to carry out an “intimate partner” homicide — when a person targets a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or someone with whom they previously had a romantic relationship — is a gun. To prevent intimate partner homicide, “the most effective intervention is getting guns out of the hands of batterers through whatever legal form that takes,” says April Zeoli, a professor at Michigan State University whose 2015 paper analyzed gun violence interventions to identify the most effective practices.

Research has found that domestic violence victims are significantly more likely to end up dead if their abuser has access to a gun. In New Jersey children were involved or present during 31 percent of all domestic violence offenses.

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On Monday, November 21st the NJ State Assembly voted on bill A.4126/S.2483. This bill enhances protections for domestic violence victims by establishing a process that will help prevent persons convicted of a domestic violence crime or subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm, or obtaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun.

The bill passed both houses and is now awaiting Governor Christie’s signature. The bill received 61 “yes” votes and 2 “no” votes. Our Sussex County assemblyman, Parker Space and our assemblywoman, Gail Phoebus were the only two legislators within both houses, republicans and democrats, that voted against the bill.

I find it very disturbing that anyone would vote against a bill that protects the lives of domestic violence victims and their families. It is my hope that Sussex County voters hold Space and Phoebus accountable next year on Election Day. Sue Hannon, President Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Sussex County Chapter