Celebrating Success in Gun Safety Amidst Recent Supreme Court Decision

JeanetteEmail Header
June 24, 2024

Celebrating Success in Gun Safety Amidst Recent Supreme Court Decision

Dear YWCA Community,

Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner.

Women are 5 times more likely to be killed during a domestic abuse incident when a gun is present in the home. Here in Washington State, 56 percent of intimate partner homicides are carried out with a firearm, more often than all other weapons combined.

At YWCA Spokane, we know that this egregious loss of life is preventable, and I am grateful to be able to share some good news with you today about one of the ways we’re collaborating with law enforcement to do just that – prevent senseless violence and protect survivors. 

When an Order of Protection is issued by the courts to protect a domestic violence survivor, an order to surrender firearms accompanies it. Since 2020, YWCA Spokane has been fortunate to be able staff a grant-funded position for a Firearms Investigative Analyst to ensure follow through on these orders. Prior to her beginning her work, compliance with these orders was at just 1%.

Working within our Family Justice Center, a collaborative office on-site that houses members of law enforcement and the city prosecutor in charge of DV cases, our analyst has been instrumental in securing the surrender of hundreds of firearms for safekeeping over the past four years. Compliance is now at approximately 80%.

For over a year now, she has been tirelessly working with the Spokane Police Department to scale up this work by setting up teams of officers who will be going out to serve firearm surrender orders and retrieve firearms from restrained parties and those convicted of Domestic Violence-related crimes.

In the past couple of months, she has provided special training on the process, and in the past month, they've started going out to serve these orders. In the first 4 weeks, they were able to remove 40 guns from the hands of abusers in Spokane.

Innovative and collaborative work like this is just one of the ways we can move the needle on domestic violence in our community and prevent our clients from becoming part of these horrifying statistics.

It’s not lost on me that this work has come together just as the Supreme Court made an essential decision to uphold a ruling that keeps guns out of the hands of abusers in United States vs. Rahimi, a case involving a man with a domestic violence restraining order who claims he should be able to own a gun. Should the Court have ruled differently and allowed abusive partners to legally access firearms, the case could have had enormous consequences for the movement to end domestic violence, put victims in harm’s way and stretched the already-thin resources of organizations like ours that help domestic violence survivors.

We are extremely relieved to hear the decision on this case, but we also know that just having the laws doesn't keep guns away from abusers. That's why the work of our Firearms Investigative Analyst is so vital.

With your support, we will continue to find ways for survivors to live and love freely without fear and respond to the very real threats of violence that firearms remaining in the hands of abusive partners pose for survivors.

Thank you for being our partner in this effort! 

For peace, justice, freedom, and dignity,

Jeanette Hauck, CEO
YWCA Spokane

By: Jeanette Hauck

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