Over 163,000 District of Columbia residents experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Fortunately, many victims survive these traumatic events; however, many will die as a result of domestic violence related murders. Although District of Columbia doesn’t publicly report domestic violence- or intimate partner-related fatality statistics including mechanism of death, evidence suggests firearms are a significant contributing factor. An abuser’s access to firearms can determine a victim’s chances of survival; domestic violence firearm prohibitions and removal laws save lives.
DC prohibits purchase and possession of firearms by persons convicted of an intrafamily offense (for 5 years), persons who are or have been the respondent in an intrafamily proceeding in which a civil protection order was issued against him or her, or persons subject to a final court order that restrains the person from assaulting, harassing, stalking, or threatening the petitioner or any other person named in the order and that requires the respondent to relinquish possession of firearms. A judicial officer may order the removal of firearms if there is good cause to believe the respondent has committed or threatened to commit a criminal offense against the petitioner, against the petitioner’s animal, or against an animal in the petitioner’s household.