Futures Without Violence works to prevent gun violence in homes and communities, protect survivors of domestic and sexual violence and help people heal who have been harmed by violence.
Specifically, we focus on five key areas:
- Keeping guns away from domestic violence abusers
- Advocating for safe storage and preventing child access to firearms
- Banning assault weapons
- Helping children and youth heal from trauma and violence
- Investing in community-based violence prevention and intervention strategies
Keeping Guns Away from Domestic Abusers
- Victims of domestic violence are 5 times more likely to die when there is a gun in the home
- 70 women a month on average are killed by a partner or ex-partner
Children are also at risk of being killed in a home where there is domestic abuse. In some truly horrific cases, perpetrators have been known to murder their own children, or their partner’s children as a means of control or punishment.
New data shows that domestic violence homicides (people who are killed by their intimate partners) have been rising. Easy access to guns and the increased number of guns in American homes are the key drivers.
And now it could get worse
The Supreme Court is poised to hear United States v. Rahimi, which will determine whether the Second Amendment prevents Congress from prohibiting people subject to domestic violence protective orders from having firearms.
Zackey Rahimi – the defendant in the criminal case – has a history of armed violence towards multiple girlfriends. He had agreed to a domestic violence protective order requested by a formed partner, who sought protection for her and her child. That order prohibited Rahimi from having firearms.
He then fired his gun in public on multiple occasions, including shooting at a government official’s car, at an accident scene, and as a fast-food restaurant. Rahimi was then arrested and convicted of possessing a firearm while subject to a domestic violence protective order.
He then fired his gun in public on multiple occasions, including shooting at a government official’s car, at an accident scene, and at a fast-food restaurant. Rahimi was then arrested and convicted of possessing a firearm while subject to a domestic violence protective order.
Rahimi appealed his conviction to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned his conviction, arguing that it violated the Second Amendment.
The Supreme Court will now weigh in. They will hear oral arguments in early November 2023, with a decision expected in late spring or early summer.
It’s common sense: domestic abusers should not have guns. A negative outcome in United States v. Rahimi would be extremely dangerous to public safety – especially for women and children, who are at greatest risk for domestic violence.
In efforts to reduce domestic violence homicides, we focus on
- Closing federal legal loopholes that allow people with domestic violence convictions or protective orders against them to purchase or possess firearms
- Improving policies and strategies for confiscating guns from abusers who are not legally allowed to have them
- Educating survivors of domestic violence about the danger of having a gun in the house
- Supporting universal background checks, including guns purchased at gun shows
Safely Storing Firearms
Gun violence is the leading killer of children over the age of 1 in the United States. Approximately half of these deaths are due to suicide. Some are accidental shootings. Safe gun storage which means guns are locked, unloaded and the ammunition is stored separately, is imperative.
FUTURES supports Ethan’s law, federal legislation that would require guns to be safely stored in homes where there are children.
Banning Assault Weapons for Civilian Use
Assault weapons are semi-automatic firearms designed for military use and built intentionally to kill quickly and efficiently. They are the preferred weapon in mass shootings because of their rapid rate of fire and that many rounds can be fired without the need to reload.
The United States has experienced an exorbitant number of mass shootings in the last 25 years, and those numbers continue to climb. Mass shootings are defined as an event with a “minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident.”
FUTURES supports the passage of a Federal Assault Weapons Ban in order to protect more families and communities from suffering mass casualties, trauma and violence. This critical, life-saving legislation will not only ban the manufacture, import and selling of assault weapons but ultimately, this will reduce the number of deaths due to gun violence.
Helping Children and Youth Exposed to Violence and Trauma Heal
Every day thousands of people in urban, suburban, rural and tribal communities experience youth violence such as:
- Losing family members and loved ones to gun violence
- Child abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Dating violence
- Injury from gun violence
The CDC calls these experiences Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). They often lead to trauma in young people that can lead to:
- Further violence
- Substance use
- Mental illness
- Quitting school
- Fewer economic opportunities
These then contribute to the painful loop, where these child victims grow older and now face increased risk for more violence and abuse – sometimes as victims and sometimes as the abuser. To break this cycle of violence and trauma, FUTURES strongly supports programs that:
- Help identify children at risk for experiencing violence
- Support mental and behavioral health services designed to help children and their families heal
- Back the RISE from Trauma Act which funds trauma intervention and prevention services and helps communities coordinate existing resources
- Work to implement key components of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which contains funding for investing in youth mental health services for youth and community-based violence intervention programs. It also strengthened language meant to protect domestic violence victims from abusers with guns.
- Support for Aware and Community Mental Health and Wellness Act
Investing in Community-Based Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiatives
FUTURES knows that it’s vital to invest in community-based violence prevention and intervention programs. Community-based strategies such as:
- Street Outreach
- Group Violence Intervention (GVI)
- Hospital Based Violence Intervention (HBVIP) programs
These programs provide supports to high-risk individuals within communities and offer resources to deter future criminal behavior. In addition, we recommend communities invest in programs like Becoming a Man (BAM) have been shown to address the impacts of trauma on young men and reduce violence.