The Minnesota Femicide Report is a report on those murdered in our state, to educate the public about the lethality of domestic violence. Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW) reports the murders that occur at the hands of abusers to direct attention to the challenges faced by all of the women and children who are living with abuse and as a call to all Minnesotans to come together to end violence. On January 30, MCBW held their yearly press conference to release the 2017 edition of the Femicide Report, which includes an overview of the 24 known domestic violence homicides as well as observations and recommendations for community responses to end the epidemic. In the findings section of the report, a staggering fact reveals that over 50 percent of domestic violence homicides of adult women were committed with a firearm.
According to everytownlearn.com, in the last decade 673 Minnesota residents were murdered with guns, and an additional 83 died in accidental shootings. They state, “support for the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with keeping guns away from criminals but that loopholes in the law make it easy for dangerous people in Minnesota to get guns.” According to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, “It’s absolutely prohibited to use the gun as a negotiation lever, anybody who does that has got their ass in a sling here.”
The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, reports in 2015 and 2016, prosecutors statewide received about 1,200 gun-related cases each year from police and in 2016, all 464 firearm-related crimes were charged in Hennepin County. Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, executive director of Protect Minnesota, lobbies for stricter gun laws, stating “the presence of a gun in the home of someone who is prohibited from having one should be taken seriously.” (sctimes.com.)
In the findings & recommendations section of the Femicide Report it explains that in most firearms-related domestic violence homicides, the perpetrators did not have any criminal or civil histories that would have resulted in the surrender of their existing firearm or that they would’ve been prohibited from purchasing or possessing new ones. In the cases where the perpetrator was prohibited from purchasing a gun, they already had the firearm or had access to firearms through family members and friends.
MCBW cautions us to see gun violence as an epidemic that it is not only important for us to look at it as a criminal justice system issue but also as a public health issue. Adopting a public health lens to tackle the issue of firearms deaths is crucial to implementing strategies that can actually save lives. They recommend: Lawmakers lift prohibitions in state statues against collecting firearm related data; invest in monitoring all forms of firearms-related injuries and deaths; and conduct pilot projects to test improvements in implementing current firearm laws.
To view the full Femicide Report go to mcbw.org.
“Laws load the gun; your lifestyle pulls the trigger but remember people don’t come back”
This article was written by Niema Broadnax