Lori Berman, Anna Eskamani try again to get guns out of hands of domestic abusers

'Every year more people die with a connection between gun ownership and a history of domestic violence so we will keep filing.'

Sen. Lori Berman and Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, both Democrats, are trying again to get guns out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence.

Berman’s Senate Bill 372 and Eskamani’s House Bill 83, both filed last month, would require people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to surrender their firearms, ammunition, and any concealed carry licenses to police. The bills also would provide police the authority to temporarily confiscate firearms at the scenes of reported domestic violence.

“We know that guns pose a grave and imminent threat to the safety and well-being of countless women and families,” Berman, of Boynton Beach, said in a news release issued Wednesday.

Similar bills have been filed many times over recent years, including Berman’s Senate Bill 186 and Eskamani’s House Bill 709 in the 2021 Legislative Session. Those bills died without hearings, as have previous efforts.

“Every year more people die with a connection between gun ownership and a history of domestic violence so we will keep filing,” Eskamani, of Orlando, said Wednesday.

In filing for the 2022 Legislative Session, Berman and Eskamani cited a report from gun law reform group The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, which said “around 4.5 million women in the United States have been threatened with a gun, and nearly 1 million women have been shot or shot at by an intimate partner.”

“Over half of all intimate partner homicides are committed with guns,” it continued.

The lawmakers also cited an analysis by another gun law reform group, Everytown for Gun Safety, that said domestic abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their victims, and that guns further exacerbate the power and control dynamic. Another Everytown study the pair cited, of mass shootings in the U.S. since 2009, found that victims in about a third of mass shootings included a domestic partner of the shooter.

“We have seen more than one case in Florida where a mass shooter has had a history of domestic violence,”  Eskamani said in the release. “The lives of Floridians — and especially women’s lives — are on the line, and we are going to keep fighting for their safety.”

SB 372 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, and the Appropriations Committee.

HB 83 has been referred to the House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee, and the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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