DV Expert: gov's plan hugely useful

January 03, 2018 07:10 PM

ALBANY - Part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's agenda for the coming year includes taking guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. To do that, several state laws that are already on the books would have to be expanded.  

The eye-opening statistic when it comes to domestic violence is that women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to guns.

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In October 2004, Liza Warner's husband owned a gun and he used it to kill Liza before killing himself.

In July 2017, State Trooper Joel Davis responded to a domestic violence incident in Jefferson County, and because the man who lived there owned a gun, Davis, along with the gunman's wife were killed.

"95-percent of police officers who are killed responding to domestic violence incidents are killed by firearms," says Karen Ziegler, Director of Albany County's Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center.

Ziegler is also a member of the statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Team that's been studying the issue for five years.

"One of the things that came out of that was there's a relationship between domestic violence abusers breaking through doors and windows to get to their victim that correlates very highly with fatalities," Ziegler stated, "If someone will not let a door or window stop them to get to their victim, they're more likely to take that person's life."

Ziegler also drives home the point that the spouse or victim isn't always the only victim.

"It's their children, it's family members, it's co-workers," she added, "How many times do we hear someone has gone into a workplace setting and shot a number of people and one of those is a partner, but also the other co-workers are there?"

The governor's plan is to allow judges to seize all firearms from convicted abusers, not just handguns. In addition, abusers would have to surrender weapons for both felony and misdemeanor convictions.

"I think it's hugely useful," Zielger said.


Dan Levy

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