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Sandy Hook Promise Commends Supreme Court Decision Protecting Victims of Domestic Abuse from Gun Violence

Newtown, Conn. – Sandy Hook Promise applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold 18 U.S.C. § 922, the federal law prohibiting people under domestic violence orders from possessing firearms. The 1994 law is a critical safeguard in balancing Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms and the U.S. Government’s responsibility of protecting the lives of partners and children of individuals deemed dangerous by the Courts. 

Firearms are frequently used by domestic abusers to injure and threaten victims and survivors. More than half of female homicide victims are killed by current or former male intimate partners, and firearms are used in about half of domestic violence homicides. Domestic violence is also a growing contributor to homicides by firearm in youth. The temporary transfer of firearms out of the home and away from those who are subject to a domestic violence order can help ensure that both domestic partners and the children in the home are protected from gun violence.  

“Too often, firearms become a part of traumatizing, if not tragic, domestic violence against partners and children,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and co-CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “The sobering statistics of these horrible abuses highlight the need for greater protections.” 

Research confirms that certain behaviors or conduct can also double as warning signs of impending violence. Examples include acting possessive or jealous, exhibiting controlling behavior such as keeping a partner away from friends and family, any attacks or threats, and cyberstalking. When a person who is on the brink of violence also has ready access to guns, the outcome can be lethal. 

18 U.S.C. § 922 is imperative to allowing states to create and maintain processes that prevent the misuse of firearms. The law provides a generous framework for temporary firearms transfers that only kicks in when a person has been found by a judge to have engaged in violence against others. Temporary transfer orders don’t permanently bar a person from lawfully possessing firearms — the firearms are returned when the order expires. 

“We can all agree that when someone is committing domestic abuse, it is the right call to temporarily transfer and remove firearms from the situation,” Barden said. 

While several states already have longstanding temporary transfer processes, Sandy Hook Promise encourages all states to examine their processes to ensure that the structures support a timely transfer of firearms. 

“Victims of domestic violence have no time to spare with the terrifying knowledge that their abuser has access to a firearm,” Barden said. 

Help is available via the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233.


The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

Media Contact: 

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579