Report seeks ways to combat spike in domestic violence homicides involving guns

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INDIANAPOLIS — Finding ways to prevent a spike in deadly incidents of domestic violence is the goal of a new report released Wednesday.

According to the report by the Domestic Violence Network, last year in Central Indiana 73 percent of all domestic-related homicides involved a firearm.  That is an increase over previous years.

2021 has also seen an increase in domestic-related homicides, a majority of which involve guns. That is why some advocates believe steps need to be taken to decrease that number.

“There is a strong connection between domestic violence homicides and firearms,” said Kelly McBride with the Domestic Violence Network.

While current Indiana law allows judges to order suspects facing a domestic violence protective order to surrender their firearms, there currently is no required follow-ups.

“We’re seeing this communication breakdown between courts and police and petitioners and that’s putting more guns in domestic violence homes,” said McBride.

The report suggests moving away from the honor system for firearms to be surrendered.

It also recommends closing a legal loophole that fails to protect dating partners that currently only applies to spouses, parents or guardians.

Not everyone agrees with that recommendation.

“Is there a loophole or are they pushing to make a law too broad?” wondered second amendment attorney Guy Relford.

Guy Relford argues closing the so-called “boyfriend” loophole is challenging and believes firearms aren’t to blame for the increase in killings.

“It’s naïve to think passing one more law will have an effect.  What you’re likely to do is catch people in overly broad laws,” said Relford.

Still, domestic violence survivor Danyette Smith believes the goal of the report is simply to save lives and make sure the current laws are better enforced.

“Our current guns laws that are in place just are not working,” said Smith.

The report also suggests improving access to services as a way to prevent violence.

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