BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Louisiana ranks fifth in domestic homicides, according to the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General.
AG Jeff Landry is now taking steps to combat domestic violence.
This includes conducting domestic violence training for law enforcement and making sure convicted abusers do not have access to firearms.
Landry also wants to let people know that there are laws in place right now that can help victims.
When domestic violence situations occur, many times a firearm is in the home. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence warns that when a firearm is present, the risk of homicide increases by a whopping 500%.
“A domestic violence call is one of the two most dangerous calls for law enforcement to go on,” Monica Taylor, a Special Projects Coordinator in Landry’s office says.
According to Taylor, having a firearm in a home with a domestic abuser is incredibly dangerous.
“When you have a non-fatal strangulation, so you have a perpetrator who has committed strangulation that didn’t end in homicide against a victim, if that victim does not leave, that victim will then be 750 times more likely to be murdered and to be murdered with a firearm,” she added.
If a convicted domestic abuser carries a firearm, it also poses a threat to others.
“That also makes them more dangerous to law enforcement, and it makes them more dangerous to the general public because we have seen in the past, folks who have committed mass murder, that they did have domestic violence in their backgrounds,” Taylor told News Ten.
As Louisiana ranks fifth in domestic homicides, Taylor says it’s important for domestic abuse victims to know that a Louisiana law passed in 2018 can help protect you.
“We also want victims to know hey, if there are firearms in the house, when you file that protective order, make sure you let law enforcement know. When you go to court, make sure you let your judge know that there are firearms in the house,” she said.
The Firearm Divestiture Law was put in place to keep weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers.
By law, those convicted of a domestic violence felony or who have a domestic violence protective order against them must turn over all firearms to the local sheriff’s office. It also restrict abusers from purchasing new firearms.
“We want to make sure victims are aware of this law to help protect them,” Taylor said.
The attorney general’s office says they are also implementing new training for law enforcement agencies to learn not only how to handle a suspect in a domestic abuse situation, but how to speak to someone in trauma.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation right now, you can call the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline at 188-411-1333.
You can also reach out to Faith House of Acadiana, a domestic violence crisis center and shelter for victims.