Patrice Ellerbe, Staff WriterLast Modified: 13:34 p.m. EDT, 07 February 2013
EUREKA SPRINGS, Arkansas - When citizens feel that their government has failed to live up to its promises, by no means is it a good feeling. There has been a lot of talk referring to the United States’ gun laws, but little action has been done in order to keep U.S. citizens safe from gun abusers.
Laura Ponce received a call on New Year’s Eve saying her daughter, 21-year old Laura Acevez, had been found unconscious in her apartment.
Her 5-month old son was found unharmed, sitting next to his mother’s bloody body. A .22 caliber bullet was lodged into Acevez’s skull.
This murder could have been avoided if prior action was taken by local authorities. Police searched for Victor Acuna-Sanchez, who is Laura Acevez’s ex-boyfriend. Sanchez is 18 years-old and was under a court order to keep away from his ex-girlfriend. Sanchez also has two previous domestic batter arrests on file.
After Laura’s murder, the police found Sanchez hiding in the shower at his mother’s home. He was armed with the .22 caliber handgun he used to shoot his ex-girlfriend, Laura Acevez.
According to the victim’s mother, Acuna-Sanchez harassed her daughter throughout the entire relationship. Acuna-Sanchez previously strangled, beat the victim with a baseball bat, and dragged her behind a car. During the week before Acevez was killed, she also told her mother that her ex-boyfriend, Acuna-Sanchez poured bleach in her gas tank while his son watched. Acuna-Sanchez then smashed the windshield of the car with a hammer. On top of the physical abuse, Acuna-Sanchez also emotionally abused Acevez. He told her on numerous occasions that if she reported him to the police, he would kill her and her children.
Victor Acuna-Sanchez should have never been allowed or able to own the handgun. Anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offence or who is subjected to domestic violence restraining order cannot legally buy or carry firearms, under federal law. Sanchez did not fit the qualifications to possess a gun. According to the Huffington Post, Johnathan Lowy, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project says, “Gun sellers have no way of knowing if someone is a domestic abuser unless there is a background check. This is a real problem”.
Published: 07 February 2013 (Page 2 of 2)
There have been some speculation and research done on how gun reform can help domestically abused women. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) stated in a hearing that in states that do require background checks for handgun sales, 38% fewer women are shot by their partners. However, others have viewed things differently, arguing more firearms regulations would make it more difficult for women to protect themselves. FBI data from 2010 say’s otherwise.
Handguns are the most common weapons used, according to 2010 FBI data. In the U.S., 64 percent of murdered women are killed by a family member or partner. Having a gun in the home makes a woman eight times more likely to be killed.
Through recent research, it was found out that since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on 14 December 2012; more than 90 women were shot and killed by family members or their partners. This is only eight weeks after the shooting.
David Hemenway explains, “The difference in female homicide victimization rates between the U.S. and these other industrialized nations is very large and is closely tied to levels of gun ownership”. Background checks should be provided for all persons attempting to own a gun. The government will need to enforce and be sure that all gun sellers are performing the background checks for potential consumers.
With all of the evidence provided, and each story brought to the public’s attention about shooting and the deadly results, the National Rifle Association is still against the universal background checks. In a “perfect world”, anyone who is not qualified to own a gun or has not had the proper background check performed, should throw their gun in the trash, and not be able to possess one until they meet requirements. However, this is not a “perfect world”, therefore, the question stands, how do we get guns that have already been purchased, out of the abusers possession?
Under federal law, convicted domestic abusers are advised but the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to dispose of their guns as well as ammunition. However, it is up to law officials to actually see this action has been fulfilled. As of now, there has been no one assigned to that task. Therefore, abusers continue to abuse simply because there is no enforcement.
With all of the assault charges Victor Acuna-Sanchez has faced and is facing, there are many questions as to why he was able to have a firearm in his possession. With all of the reports to the police, there are many questions as to why he was able to have a firearm in his possession. Hopefully this is not just another story about a young mother who has been murdered at the hands of her crazy lover. Hopefully, this is a story that sparks action.Follow Patrice Ellerbe on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Staff Writer: @PatriceEllerbe