I recently had a chance to talk with Natalie Nanasi, Assistant Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law and Director of the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women. Prof. Nanasi has written a lot of incisive scholarship on issues including immigration, domestic violence, and feminist legal theory. In our chat—video below—we talked about her latest piece, “Disarming Domestic Abusers,” which is forthcoming in the Harvard Law & Policy Review, and raises really important and interesting questions about how best to draft, implement, and litigate rules about guns and domestic violence.
Here’s the abstract:
Guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination. Every sixteen hours, a woman is fatally shot by her intimate partner in the United States; the mere presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent.
Recognizing these risks, federal law and some states prohibit domestic abusers from possessing firearms. But these laws are not being enforced. Perpetrators of domestic violence are rarely ordered to surrender firearms, and even when they are, there are often no mechanisms to ensure that weapons are safely relinquished.
This Article proposes strategies to disarm domestic abusers, proceeding in three parts. First, it describes legislation that would prohibit perpetrators of intimate partner violence from owning or possessing firearms. Next, it explains the mechanisms required to implement that legislation. Finally, it recommends litigation strategies to ensure meaningful enforcement. Only all three, working in together, have the potential to prevent the gun-related deaths of intimate partners.