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Local Anti-Violence Groups Call President's Gun Proposals "Common Sense"

PHOTO: Heather Martens with Protect Minnesota says the gun safety package announced by President Obama on Wednesday is common sense and reasonable. CREDIT: Dennis Drenner
PHOTO: Heather Martens with Protect Minnesota says the gun safety package announced by President Obama on Wednesday is common sense and reasonable. CREDIT: Dennis Drenner
January 17, 2013

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - President Obama has unveiled his plan to help curb gun violence in America. The package of legislation for Congress includes a ban on high-capacity magazines, and the reinstatement of a ban on some assault-style weapons.

Tonia Thomas with the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence favors another part of the proposal, which would tighten background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales. She says more than half of the women in the state killed by an intimate partner were killed with a firearm, and the statistics show that guns make domestic conflict more dangerous.

"Access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicides more than five times. We have seen here in the state that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners."

Gun owner and gun safety advocate Heather Martens says the president's proposals are "common sense measures." She says the Second Amendment and public safety are not contradictory, and moving forward with these plans is something she thinks many who own firearms can get behind.

"I grew up in a hunting family myself. I learned to shoot when I was 10 years old, and the NRA that I knew as a child is not the NRA of today. The NRA lobbyists today represent the firearms industry, especially those that manufacture assault weapons."

The National Rifle Association says law-abiding gun owners should not be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen, and they claim the push is more about attacking the Second Amendment than keeping children safe.

Thomas says current laws, including the Violence Against Women Act, are intended to keep abusers from having guns, and she says the President's proposals build on what most people agree is a good idea. She says making guns harder to get won't solve the problem, but it's better than the alternative.

"For some abusers, when they don't don't have access to a firearm, even though they can get one illegally, it does slow down the process, which often gives victims time to seek safety, or call the authorities, or get someone to help."

More information about Martens' group's positions is available at www.protectmn.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV