Guns Laws and Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania

By Christian Heilman

Published 07/30 2014 06:20PM

Updated 07/30 2014 06:23PM

ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY -- The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence says in 2013 there were 158 domestic-related fatalities in the state -- most of them by gun violence.
In our area, Cambria County had the most fatalities -- six last year. The Center for American Progress says Pennsylvania law currently prevents some domestic abusers from having guns, but they say there is still a long way to go. They say the state has just four of the eight gun laws recommended by the center. They say when courts issue a protection from abuse order, they don't force the abuser to surrender firearms. Center officials call that a loophole and it has the Bedford County District Attorney upset that the federal government is overstepping its bounds.
Bill Higgins, the Bedford County District Attorney, said "The increase in gun laws only affects law abiding people. Criminals are going to get their hands on gun no matter how many laws are in place."
Jackie Bevan, the director of victim services in Altoona said, " I think we need to make it a community issue. It's not necessarily the victim's fault. It's not their responsibliy to fix it or make it right."
The State Coalition Against Domestic Violence says the presence of guns makes it more likely for domestic abuse to turn into murder and that more laws should be in place to protect them.

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