Welcome to Current TV
Iowa bill calls for providing free weapons training to abuse victims
Advocates said Monday that the issue is about empowering victims.
But others told lawmakers that such a policy would bring about a host of unintended consequences for abuse victims, including an increase in deaths related to domestic violence.
"In theory this bill sounds like it may help domestic abuse victims defend themselves, but in reality we've seen something very different," said Amber Markham, director of public policy for the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "Firearms in the home increase the chance of homicide in the home fivefold. Oftentimes the abuser uses the firearm against her."
Deputy Attorney General Eric Tabor also expressed opposition to House File 209, largely because it could drain money from other domestic abuse prevention and victim assistance programs.
Rep. Tom Shaw, R-Laurens, said he shares concerns that the bill would create additional requirements and potential costs for sheriffs and told the House public safety subcommittee he would not support the bill for advancement in the Legislature.
Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, also said she would not support the bill, meaning it will most likely die. Rep. Mark Brandenburg, R-Council Bluffs, said he needed more time to study the issue.
Even if the bill is dead for this year, it will most likely be revised and resurrected in coming legislative sessions, said its sponsor, Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley.
The bill includes a $500 fee to be paid by anyone convicted of domestic assault, which Windschitl said would pay the cost of the classes.
Windschitl, whose family owns a gun shop, compared the issue to empowering a grade school kid bullied by peers.
"Why not take a different course of action and empower those people to be able defend themselves and build their ego back up?" Windschitl asked.
more from Community:
from the community