One of Louisiana’s finest was profiled this morning on the TODAY show for her efforts to remove firearms from domestic abusers. The history is important.
In 2014, Rep. Helena Moreno was asked by the United Way’s public policy team, Kim Sport and Charmaine Caccioppi, to sponsor legislation to make it illegal to possess a firearm for the duration of a protective order and for 10 years following a domestic violence conviction. The laws passed unanimously.
It was not until 2018 that legislation, sponsored by Sen. J.P. Morrell and carried by Rep. Joe Marino in the House, was finally passed to force unlawful firearms possessors to transfer their firearms to law enforcement for the period of dispossession. LaFourche Parish was the primary model which Sport and Caccioppi looked to in drafting the legislation.
The effect of the 2018 law is not yet known, but last month the Violence Policy Center, based on 2018 homicide data, placed Louisiana 5th in the nation for domestic violence homicides against women, after being 2nd in the nation for the prior three years. We can only hope that the 2018 firearm transfer law will take Louisiana out of the top 10 when 2020 data is analyzed.
We should be so grateful for law enforcement agencies in Louisiana who are enforcing the law and for judges who acknowledge that these laws will save the lives of domestic abuse survivors and apply the law without impunity - no matter who the abuser is.