Our Opinion: Less talk, more action on domestic violence

The Show-Me State has many things we can take pride in. But one of our state's blemishes, and something we don't talk about enough, is our domestic violence problem.

All states have their own problems with domestic violence, but Missouri's is worse than most.

Missouri ranks second in the nation in the number of women murdered by men, according to a national study by the Violence Policy Center, KY3 in Springfield recently reported.

With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it's a good time to bring the issue to the forefront.

Our state has seen a spike in domestic violence calls during the pandemic, and gun sales have surged.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, 99 women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in Missouri from 2014-18.

Nationally, women of color are victims of homicide at higher rates than white women, and more than 55 percent of these killings are committed by an intimate partner.

This past legislative session, lawmakers failed to schedule hearings on any of the five bills that would have protected Missouri communities, Everytown for Gun Safety said in a news release. That was despite 400 members of Moms Demand Action who advocated for legislation to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers.

The Columbia Missourian reported in June that under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, it's illegal to "purchase, receive or possess" a firearm if someone has been "convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence." When it became legal to conceal and carry without a permit in Missouri, law enforcement lost a method of restricting guns based on background checks, which they would have done when issuing permits.

We ask lawmakers to correct this during the next legislative session, and we urge the public to urge their elected representatives to do so.

Meanwhile, if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, available 24/7, for confidential assistance from a trained advocate. You can also chat online at thehotline.org.

News Tribune