Dems say tougher gun laws protect women

Congressional Democrats issued a fresh call Wednesday for passage of legislation to strengthen gun control regulations, contending that even modest steps could dramatically decrease the number of women killed in shootings.

Lawmakers from the House and Senate joined survivors of those killed by gun violence and throngs of activists at a briefing to press for legislation bolstering federal background check restrictions for gun sales.

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The lawmakers pointed to polling showing that more than 90 percent of Americans support tougher regulations, though legislation that would impose them has repeatedly fallen short of the necessary votes.

“There is a huge disconnect between what the American public wants and what Congress is willing to give them,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said at the briefing, organized by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
 
Murphy and others cited statistics showing that, on average, 46 women are shot to death in the United States each month by current or former intimate partners.

In particular, the lawmakers pressed for passage of legislation that would extend prohibitions on gun purchases to people who are the subject of temporary restraining orders.

Current law only bars those under permanent restraining orders from buying guns, the advocates said. In states that have taken steps to require background checks for all handgun sales, 38 percent fewer women are murdered by intimate partners.

“This isn’t six percent or eight percent — this is 40 percent less spouses, less domestic partners are dying because of gun violence,” Murphy said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), and Reps. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) also voiced their support for tougher gun controls.

Esty called upon congressional leaders to allow a House floor vote on background check legislation that Reps. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced earlier this year. The bill has attracted 184 co-sponsors.

Though each in a series of gun-related bills brought up since last year’s elementary school massacre in Connecticut has failed, Esty said the measure deserves a vote.

“Just as we saw around the government shutdown, the votes are different once you get things called up on the floor,” she said.