Group again calls for expanded background checks for gun sales

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A West Virginia woman who survived domestic violence in her home as a child is among those calling on members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House to again take up and then approve legislation expanding background checks to all commercial gun sales.

Marcia Drake, executive director of Women’s Aid In Crisis in central West Virginia, said the move would save lives.

“Without appropriate background checks, abusers kill women and children and, often, themselves,” Drake told MetroNews Wednesday from Capitol Hill.

She was part of a group of domestic violence survivors and advocates from across the United States who wrapped up Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a trip to Washington, D.C. to talk about, what they see as, the “life or death” role of guns in domestic violence.

According to organizers of the event, in 2011, 44 percent of women killed with guns in the U.S. were killed by current or former intimate partners and, in all mass shootings between 2009 and September of this year, at least 57 percent involved a shooter killing a current or former intimate partner or a family member.

Drake grew up in a home where guns were used for threats and intimidation.  “For me, the smell of gun cleaning oil almost brings a PTSD reaction because it is truly such trauma in the lives of, certainly, the victims, the wives, the girlfriends, but also the children,” she said.

She now works with an organization that supports victims of sexual or domestic violence and stalking in Randolph, Upshur, Barbour, Tucker, Webster and Braxton counties.  It’s one of 14 of its kind in West Virginia.

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