EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Thursday, June 4, 2015

South Carolina Set to Adopt 2 of My Recommendations for Strengthening Domestic Violence Laws

Last fall, I was honored to be asked to speak before a subcommittee tasked with strengthening South Carolina's domestic violence laws. After giving my presentation to the subcommittee, I was asked to submit my proposals to the subcommittee for consideration. Here are the 10 recommendations I sent to the subcommittee:  Download DV(3).

Today, I was happy to hear that Governor Nikki Haley will be signing into law a new domestic violence law that incorporates two of these recommendations.

Here is the final version of the new domestic violence law. One important aspect of the new law is that it place lifetime bans on the ability of certain domestic abusers to possess firearms and shorter (but still long) bans on those convicted of certain lesser included offenses. Here was the recommendation on this issue that I had sent to the subcommittee:

Take Guns and Ammunition Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers

In 1996, Congress passed a federal law banning the possession of guns by those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.[1] Since then, most states have enacted similar laws, and at least twenty-seven states have passed laws requiring those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to surrender their firearms and ammunition.[2] Most states also similar laws that govern those who are the subjects of protective orders.[3] South Carolina has considered passing a similar law but does not currently have a law preventing those with protective orders of misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from possession firearms or ammunition.[4] South Carolina should pass this type of legislation because (1) seven of the ten states with the highest rate of male on female homicide lack such legislation; and (2) “An analysis of female domestic homicides (a woman murdered by a spouse, intimate acquaintance, or close relative) showed that prior domestic violence in the household made a woman 14.6 times more likely, and having one or more guns in the home made a woman 7.2 times more likely, to be the victim of such a homicide.”[5]

[1] See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).

[3] See id.

[4] See Harrison Cahill, S.C. advocates push bill banning gun purchases by criminal domestic abusers, at http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/07/29/3232589_sc-advocates-push-bill-banning.html?rh=1.

[5] Facts of Firearms and Domestic Violence, at https://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/domviofs.htm.

The new law also increases the punishment for those convicted of committing certain types of criminal domestic violence, which was another of the recommendations included in my proposal. 

I think this new law is a definite step in the right direction for South Carolina, but we still have a long way to go. I hope that South Carolina eventually adopts all of my recommendations, including allowing same sex partners to obtain protective orders and eliminating the state's disparate treatment of spousal sexual battery.



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Contratulations on these accomplishments. Having come from a background of domestic violence, it would have been a great help if the laws were in place to keep the victim safe. Now in NJ you are removed from the house regardless if you are the perpretrator and all guns are removed. This frees the victim from being terrified of not having the spouse/partner removed of their own accord.
Keep at it, all partners need safety in a relationship.
Navy Mom

Posted by: navymom | Jun 4, 2015 8:22:46 AM

Congratulations on your input!

Posted by: fourhens | Jun 4, 2015 8:32:54 AM

Congratulations, Colin. And thank you for working to make these slow, but incremental changes. You restore (incremental) faith in the system.

Posted by: BeOhBe | Jun 4, 2015 11:42:56 AM

I knew I liked you from the get go on Undisclosed. Reading this just solidified it. I'm a huge fan of Undisclosed and Serial and I'm also a survivor of Domestic Violence. Your recommendations were on point and so badly needed. Thank you for the work you are doing for the victims in your state.

Posted by: Megan Davis | Jun 11, 2015 6:11:02 PM

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