Gun-control group looks to capitalize on NFL’s domestic violence woes

Gun-control group looks to capitalize on NFL’s domestic violence woes
© Getty Images

The gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is looking to use the National Football League’s nightmarish string of domestic violence scandals to renew its push for stronger federal firearms regulations.

Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) issued a report Tuesday linking a trio of incidents involving Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and other NFL players to the push for tougher laws, even though guns played no role in two of the cases. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Rather, the group is seeking to leverage a surge in public attention on domestic violence by highlighting laws that let accused offenders possess guns.

“Any national dialogue on domestic abuse must include a discussion of the lethal intersection of gun crime and violence against women in the United States, and the loopholes in our federal law that allow individuals — including current NFL players — who have committed domestic violence against a partner but can still access a firearm,” the group said Tuesday. 

ARS cites federal data showing a 500 percent increase in the risk of a woman being the victim of homicide when guns are present during a domestic violence situation. 

Between 2001 and last year, guns were used in 6,410 murders of women by their intimate partners — a death toll that exceeds the total number of troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to the group. 

In calling for tougher regulations, the group points to the Rice case, in which an elevator camera in an Atlantic City hotel captured video of the player knocking his then fiancée unconscious. 

The group also cites the ongoing case involving San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his pregnant fiancé, but has not been charged. 

“Even if convicted, McDonald, like so many other dangerous individuals, could still access guns through loopholes in the federal background check system in states that don’t require background checks on all gun sales,” the group said. 

In a third case, a Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy allegedly threw his ex-girlfriend “onto a couch covered in assault riles and shotguns, which, Hardy bragged were fully loaded,” the group says. 

ARS, founded by Giffords, after she was shot and nearly killed in Phoenix, is pressing for legislation that would require background checks for all commercial gun sales. 

The group is also supporting Senate legislation that would prohibit accused abusers named in restraining orders from possessing guns.