Did you know that it is illegal to possess a gun if a person has been convicted of domestic violence? It makes sense, right? Well, now there is a push to also ban guns from the hands of convicted animal abusers. And here is why.
Scientific evidence shows that a person who abuses animals has a much higher likelihood of harming humans. Just look at serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and the Boston Strangler, as well as recent mass shooters including those involved in Columbine and Parkland. They all began their demented behavior by abusing animals first.
“As we look at some of the recent mass shootings from Columbine to Parkland to Sutherland Springs, these perpetrators had a history of animal abuse. Addressing this pattern of behavior is a part of the solution for preventing gun violence and hopefully saving lives,” said U.S. Rep. Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass., who in July introduced bill (HR 6278) introduced focusing on the issue.”
Currently, at least 75 state and local prosecuting offices have personnel specializing in animal abuse, according to a list provided by the National Link Coalition, an advocacy group formed a decade ago by activists concerned about the apparent connection between animal abuse and family violence.
Federal law already bars felons from having a firearm, but many animal cruelty crimes — even those that involve torture and mutilation — are prosecuted as misdemeanors. Clark’s bill would step up enforcement by forbidding anyone with a misdemeanor conviction for animal cruelty from possessing a gun. Clark is favored to win reelection on Nov. 6, and, if the bill doesn’t pass this year, she plans to reintroduce it in the next Congress.
The Illinois State Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association fought bills to require the surrender of firearms in domestic violence cases before state and federal bans were adopted. “People didn’t want guns taken away from wife beaters. That wasn’t popular at all,” said Jerry Elsner, a registered Republican and executive director of the crime commission in Illinois. But on the animal abuse legislation, he frames his personal position another way: “I’m not anti-gun, I’m anti-animal abuse.”
This is why it is so important to vote next week on Tuesday, November 6th. Make your voice heard, and look for candidates who you believe in, and hopefully, they are the ones who want to promote positive change like this. Click here to find your state’s election center and information. Will you get out and vote in the midterms?