NORRISTOWN >> Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., appeared before a domestic violence advocacy organization in Norristown Wednesday to detail proposed legislation that aims to prevent those convicted of domestic abuse and stalking from obtaining firearms.
“According to one study, women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if their abuser owns a gun,” Casey said. “That alone should compel us to action to a determined focus to deal with both problems- the problem of domestic violence and the problem of gun violence.”
Casey appeared at the offices of Laurel House along with Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele to discuss the pervasive problem of domestic violence. Steele said that at any given time, the district attorney’s office handles about 400 domestic violence cases.
“This is something that we see every day,” Steele said. “This is a reality in our county and it is one that we have to face and shed light on.”
The legislation Casey was there to support would expand restrictions on firearm possession for those convicted of domestic abuse and stalking.
“This bill closes an important loophole in terms of making it clear that all intimate relationships are subject to gun restrictions that are currently in place for other domestic situations and places additional restrictions on stalkers,” Steele said.
Casey stated that the bill goes hand in hand with one he proposed after the mass shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando that would restrict those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning guns.
“We need to do a lot more than pass this bill. We need a long series of common sense gun measure passed,” Casey said.
The appearance at Laurel House, along with a roundtable discussion of domestic violence that included advocates, law enforcement and a survivor of abuse, came during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The county has observed the month with a ceremony hosted by the Domestic Violence Legal Network that honored advocates and by lighting the Montgomery County Courthouse purple last week.
“A lot of people are worried about two basic problems and increasingly worried about the intersection between the two. Domestic violence, which has a gravity and an intensity that is if anything seems to be growing,” Casey said, “and the related problem of gun violence, and the intersection between the two is particularly worrisome for so many people across the country.