Seventeen states require people placed under restraining orders to surrender their guns or face arrest. In its nine-part series of editorials on links between domestic violence, guns and mass shootings, the New York Times says Congress should make this a federal law–but that would required politicians “to put aside their fear that any restrictions on guns…will run afoul of the mindless absolutism that increasingly defines the NRA.”
Continuing its series of editorials on the links between guns and domestic violence, The New York Times praises Wisconsin for its 2014 law requiring people placed under restraining orders to be notified that they must turn in any guns they owned within 48 hours or face arrest. The law saves lives: States that collect guns from people under restraining orders have a 22 percent lower rate of intimate-partner homicide by gun than those that don’t, according to a Michigan State University study. And murders of bystanders — often police officers, children or other family members — commonly stem from these homicides. Yet Wisconsin is one of only 17 states, plus Washington, D.C., that have enacted this common-sense measure.
This gap in public safety could be easily filled by the federal government. But that would require leaders of Congress to put aside their fear that any restrictions on guns — even those, like this one, that are endorsed by police organizations — will run afoul of the mindless absolutism that increasingly defines the NRA. If Congress wants to make American families safer, the Times says, it will toughen federal law to require those convicted of domestic violence or stalking, or under a restraining order, to turn over their firearms. The editorial is the fifth in a series of nine that focus on domestic violence, which the Times says is often presages mass shootings.